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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

MONTEIRO, Renata Alves; COUTINHO, Janine Giuberti  and  RECINE, Elisabetta. Usage of food and beverage labels by supermarket shoppers in Brasilia, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.3, pp. 172-177. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892005000800004.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether adults who shop in supermarkets in one part of Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil, use the information contained in food and beverage labels, as well as to characterize this usage. METHODS: This study was done in five supermarkets in the Plano Piloto (Pilot Plan) central core area of Brasilia. The research was carried out in two stages: (1) a quantitative stage, based on a cross-sectional study, during which 250 individuals were randomly selected and surveyed in the supermarkets; and (2) a qualitative stage, in which 25 individuals who had participated in the first stage underwent more extensive individual interviews. RESULTS: Of the 250 persons surveyed, 187 of them (74.8%) reported that they usually read food and beverage labels. However, only 25.7% of the consumers who consulted the labels did so for all foods and beverages. Of the persons who read the labels, the majority (59.9%) only read the labels for specific foods, including milk, dairy products, canned foods, sausages, and diet products. The information that shoppers most often wanted to know from the labels was the number of calories and the fat and sodium content. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows the need to utilize our findings in improving the existing educational strategies for promoting healthy eating. We suggest that consumers, food producers, and food distributors all be involved in developing strategies for nutrition education.

Keywords : Information dissemination; nutrition policy; food labeling.

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