“I rarely read the label”: Factors that Influence Thai Consumer Responses to Nutrition Labels

  •  Wimalin Rimpeekool    
  •  Cathy Banwell    
  •  Sam-ang Seubsman    
  •  Martyn Kirk    
  •  Vasoontara Yiengprugsawan    
  •  Adrian Sleigh    


BACKGROUND: This qualitative study employed the Knowledge-Attitude-Behaviour (KAB) model and Health Belief Model (HBM) to investigate factors influencing Thai consumer decision making about use of nutrition labels. Labels include both Nutrition Information Panels (1998-) and Guideline Daily Amounts labels (2011-).

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 34 participants representing two socio-demographic extremes in Thailand – “urban Bangkok” (university educated consumers) and “provincial Ranong” (non-university educated consumers). An integrated KAB-HBM model was used to devise in-depth interviews for a qualitative study using 20 open-ended questions and samples of food package labels. Additional questions arose from the interviews and they lasted 30-45 minutes and were video recorded. The analysis identified recurring themes using Atlas.ti software.

RESULTS: Most participants (n=25) were aware of nutrition labels but a much smaller number (n=10) used and derived any benefit from them. Nutrition label users were classified into 4 groups: A) competent user; B) confused user; C) aware non-user; D) unaware non-user. Better educated participants were better at understanding nutrition labels but not more likely to use labels. Belief that nutrition influences health increased likelihood of using nutrition labels to make decisions about food. Being well-educated and motivated by health concerns increased likelihood of attention to nutrition labels.

CONCLUSION: Results are discussed with a view to increasing the use of nutrition labels by Thai consumers. Our findings, drawing on a combination of the KAB and HBM models, can contribute to strategies motivating consumers to use nutrition labels and can provide useful insights for developing promotional strategies.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.