The acceptability to stakeholders of mandatory nutritional labelling in France and the UK – findings from the PorGrow project
Implementing a European Union (EU)-wide mandatory nutrition labelling scheme has been advocated as part a multi-pronged strategy to tackle obesity. The type of scheme needs to be acceptable to all key stakeholders. This study explored stakeholders’ viewpoints of labelling in two contrasting food cultures (France and the UK) to see whether attitudes were influenced by sectoral interests and/or national context. Methods:
Using Multi Criteria Mapping, a decision analysis tool that assesses stakeholder viewpoints, quantitative and qualitative data were gathered during tape-recorded interviews. In France and the UK, 21 comparable stakeholders appraised nutritional labelling with criteria of their own choosing (i.e. feasibility, societal benefits, social acceptability, efficacy in addressing obesity, additional health benefits) and three criteria relating to cost (to industry; public sector; individuals). When scoring, interviewees provided both optimistic (best case) and pessimistic (worst case) judgements. Results:
Overall, mandatory nutritional labelling was appraised least favourably in France. Labelling performed worse under optimistic (best case) scenarios in France, for five out of eight sets of criteria. French stakeholders viewed labelling as expensive, having fewer benefits to society and as being marginally less effective than UK stakeholders did. However, French interviewees thought implementing labelling was feasible and would provide additional health benefits. British and French stakeholders made similar quantitative judgements on how socially acceptable mandatory labelling would be. Conclusions:
There is agreement between some stakeholder groups in the two different countries, especially food chain operators. However, cultural differences emerged that could influence the impact of an EU-wide mandatory labelling scheme in both countries.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: IRD, UMR 204 NUTRIPASS, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Human Nutrition, Montpellier, France 2: IASO – International Association for the Study of Obesity, London, UK 3: SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, Falmer, Sussex, UK
Publication date: February 1, 2010