CLYMBOL: Role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour
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 understanding, choice and consumption.
Departing from the outcomes of the FP7 project FLABEL (Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life), the 4 year research project CLYMBOL aims to determine how health-related 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 and country-specific differences with regard to the use of health claims and symbols.
CLYMBOL will produce a set of methods for policy-makers and the food industry to assess the effects of health claims and symbols on food labels as these appear on the market, and recommendations on how health claims and symbols can be used to strengthen informed choice, healthy eating and industrial competitiveness.
The project draws heavily on the involvement of stakeholders from the whole food sector to ensure results with high practical relevance.
I previously worked at the Institute of Food Research, Health Education Authority and University of Oxford. My expertise is in the area of public health and behavioural nutrition research, gained on a variety of projects. My research is wide ranging both in terms of topics covered (e.g. food choice, policy development, food safety) and methodologies used (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, stakeholder consultation). I have also been involved in the evaluation of health promotion programmes and developing tools for use in nutrition education.
Since my arrival in 2000, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the University of Surrey’s Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, securing over £5.4M of research funding, of which over £3.3M as PI. With a start-up investment of £250K in 2000, the centre has brought over £7.1M into the University.
To date I have published over 125 refereed papers, numerous non-refereed publications including 20 book chapters and have edited two booksand edited two books ("The Psychology of Food Choice" (2006) and "Food for the Ag(e)ing Population" (1st edition 2009; 2nd edition 2016).
I am one of the founding members, member of the Board of Directors (2001-2006) and was secretary (2004-2006) of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The society was set up to combine interests in diet and physical activity; and to stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area. The society now plays an important role in fostering excellence in research in this field through its annual meetings and journal called the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Chris has research interests in the promotion of healthy behaviours, recovery from stroke, health claims for food products and methods of online deliberative engagement. He has secured research grants from ESRC, Sport England, EU, the Wellcome Trust and various UK government departments and is most recently PI on an RCT evaluating sports-oriented exercise programmes as an alternative to GP referral for gym-based exercise. He has extensive experience of supervising trainee clinical psychologists’ major research projects and an interest in statistical methods. In addition to numerous journal articles and conference proceedings he has published a textbook on research methods for psychologists. He is the former Director of the ESRC’s Southeast Doctoral Training Centre and was Chair of the Association of Heads of Psychology Departments until May 2022 when he retired.
I started my career with GSK as a development chemist and then moved to Superdrug Stores PLC as Head of Technical Services. During my 14 years in industry, I gained extensive experience of managing technical and research projects within both branded and retail environments. In 2003, I joined the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH) in the School of Psychology at Surrey, a multidisciplinary research centre which brings together skills and expertise in order to address research questions on food related policy, consumer behaviour and public health. I have played an instrumental role in the success of the Research Centre, working on a wide range of collaborative, multidisciplinary UK and EU funded research projects. I am also Director of Innovation for the School of Psychology, employing my expertise to support academics in the School of Psychology and the wider university to develop pathways to impact thus ensuring our research delivers societal benefit.
Naomi Klepacz graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc (Hons.) in Psychology, and went on to obtain a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education and Training from the University of Portsmouth. Naomi has worked as a lecturer and teacher of Psychology and Health Studies in several FE and Sixth-Form colleges. In 2010, Naomi took a break from her teaching career to study full-time for her MSc in Health Psychology at the University of Surrey. On completing her MSc, Naomi remained at the University of Surrey where she completed a PhD investigating the role of packaging imagery in people's understanding of health function, under the supervision of Dr Robert Nash and Prof Jane Ogden, and in partnership with the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH). Naomi Joined FCBH has a Research Fellow in August 2015.
Richard Shepherd is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology, having retired in August 2011. He obtained degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and in Psychology from Cardiff and Southampton. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and then worked at the Institute of Food Research from 1982 to 1998, initially in Norwich and then in Reading, before joining the University of Surrey as a Reader.
He has carried out research on a range of issues related to the factors influencing food choice. In particular this has involved the development and application of social cognition models to food choice issues and the exploration of the factors influencing dietary change. He has also conducted research on the perception of risk and risk communication particularly in relation to food issues. He has published widely in all of these areas of research, including editing two books.
He has directed research funded by BBSRC, ESRC, MAFF, FSA, Wellcome Trust and industry, in addition to several collaborative European projects funded by the EU. He is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In the past Richard has been a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Social Science Research Committee, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Social Science Expert Advisory Group and the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel.
Having completed my PhD in 2000 (University of Surrey) in the area of identity processes in the context of social and cross-cultural mobility, I have subsequently worked within advertising industry (J. Walter Thompson). I joined the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH) at the University of Surrey (Department of Psychology) in 2002, a multidisciplinary research centre which brings together skills and expertise from across the University in order to address research questions on food related policy, consumer behaviour and public health. Since my arrival, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the Research Centre, working on research projects of substantive theoretical and applied relevance. I work within the critical public health framework and my empirically-oriented work has focused on understanding the role and nature of public and stakeholder engagement and dialogue in policy and science, risk perception and governance, and science-policy interaction. Policy relevance is a key theme across my research projects, and my work is aimed at both understanding the processes of policy making, and contributing evidence on which to base policies. I am particularly interested in public health nutrition, sustainable diets and illness prevention.
Klepacz, N. A., Nash, R. A., Egan, M. B., Hodgkins, C. E., & Raats, M. M. (in press). When is an image a health claim? A false-recollection method to detect implicit inferences about products' health benefits. Health Psychology.
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