Role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour (CLYMBOL)

31 August 2016

Health claims and symbols on food labels are aids to help consumers identify foods that are healthier options, but little is known about their impact on consumer behaviour.

Departing from the outcomes of the FP7 project FLABEL on food labelling, the 4 year research project CLYMBOL (‘Role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour’) aims to determine how health claims and symbols are understood by consumers, and how they affect purchasing and consumption. Researchers will take into account the individual differences in needs and wants as well as country differences with regard to the use of health claims and symbols.

CLYMBOL partners will also develop recommendations on how health claims and symbols can be used to strengthen informed choice, healthy eating and industrial competitiveness.

The research

Drawing on the latest developments in cognitive and behavioural science, CLYMBOL will deliver a set of methodologies for researchers, policy-makers and the food industry, to assess the effects of health claims and symbols in consumer behaviour. The range of studies includes pan-European surveys, experiments in actual supermarkets and analysis of population data. By measuring consumers’ eye movements and reaction times, for example, researchers will be able to observe and analyse subconscious behaviour and link this to actual purchases.

Analysis of social media campaigns will further help developing guidelines for public and private communication and education on health-related information. 

The partners

The CLYMBOL consortium gathers 14 partners from 9 countries that have proven outstanding expertise in various fields such as cognitive consumer psychology, economics, marketing, nutrition and public health.

  • Aarhus University (Denmark) – Scientific Advisor
  • Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragon, CITA (Spain)
  • Corvinus University Budapest (Hungary)
  • European Food Information Council (Belgium) – Project Coordinator
  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Globus SB-Warenhaus Holding GmbH &Co. KG (Germany)
  • Saarland University (Germany)
  • Schuttelaar & Partners NV (Netherlands)
  • Swedish National Food Agency (Sweden)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of Surrey (UK)
  • University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Wageningen University (The Netherlands)

For more information on the project, please visit the CLYMBOL website: www.clymbol.eu

CLYMBOL - Role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour - receives research funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (Contract n°311963).