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Food choice.
Student consumers' decision-making process regarding food products with limited label information.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
International Journal of Consumer Studies
Seite (von-bis):
Food label information theoretically facilitates consumer decision-making and food choice, but the extent to which consumers actually use this information during decision-making is a subject of considerable debate. Therefore, this study focused on the importance of label information in student consumers' decision-making process when exposed to limited label information food in a cafeteria environment. Because of a paucity of research in this area, a qualitative research approach that was exploratory in nature was used, accompanied by semi-structured interviewing and a vignette. Undergraduate students from the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, in South Africa served as the target population. The findings suggest that internal and product-related strategies are applied when food choices are made whereby the importance of label information only features in the latter strategy. Student consumers with a label interest were more inclined to use label information strategies in the absence of complete label information to base food choice on. Those with a lack of label interest made use of alternative strategies using product and personal-related information, such as freshness and product knowledge to make decisions. The decision-making process was more complex because of insufficient label information and product appearance, and thus previous experiences and habitual purchasing became more important to participants. Student consumers should be supported to make healthier food choices through food manufacturers supplying cafeteria products with more complete label information and by providing students with the knowledge to use label information correctly through educational programmes.