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Food Choice Behaviour of Chinese Consumers in Shenyang, Liaoning Province

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DOI: 10.4236/me.2015.69088    2,571 Downloads   3,037 Views  

ABSTRACT

The aim of the study was to investigate consumers’ use of nutrition claims and to determine the food choice behaviour of Chinese consumers based on the nutrient content of packaged foods. A cross-sectional descriptive research approach was followed. Combined stratified and random sampling methods were used to select 400 adult literate consumers involved in packaged food purchases from international chain supermarkets and other popular shops in Shenyang in Liaoning Province, North-East of China. Data were collected with questionnaires and analysed with both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results indicated that none of the respondents could interpret “salt free”, only 6.0% understood “reduced sugar” and 70% were sceptical about such claims. A total of 53.8% and 64.4% of the respondents neither understood the term or knew their RDA respectively, even though familiarity with these had implication for food consumption. Respondents’ use of information on calorie (Mean = 3.003, Std. Dev. = 1.248), sugar (Mean = 3.151, Std. Dev. = 1.175) and fat (Mean = 3.175, Std. Dev. = 1.202) content affected their food choices “sometimes” while salt content “rarely” (Mean = 2.803, Std. Dev. = 1.193) did. While the highest level education showed no significance, health status was significantly and negatively correlated with low-calorie (r = ?0.094, p < 0.01) and low-salt (r = ?0.083, p < 0.05) food choices. Taste influenced the choice of biscuits/cookies, which normally had high amount of fat, sugar and/or salt. The findings suggested a low nutrition labelling awareness even though majority of the respondents were well educated. Misconception and scepticism about label claims and value placed on taste could lead to over consumption of the negative nutrients from packaged foods. Consumer education and enforcement of claims on calorie, fat, sugar and salt are emphasized.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

MacArthur, R. , Wang, Y. and Feng, X. (2015) Food Choice Behaviour of Chinese Consumers in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Modern Economy, 6, 937-947. doi: 10.4236/me.2015.69088.

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