Are food health claims confusing consumers?

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39 min listen

Do you understand what the various health claims on food packaging actually mean for your nutrition? If not, you’re not alone. Food health claims can be confusing to shoppers and manufacturers alike, with regulations muddying the waters and consumers in different countries being skeptical around the claims brands make. How can the health claims on food be simplified, in a way that is transparent and understandable for everyone?

Joining host Stefan Gates this week is Professor of Sociolinguistics, Rodney Jones from the University of Reading. Funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Rodney is the lead of the Health Claims Unpacked project, which is looking at how language around health claims can be improved to make them more appealing and understandable. Why do Italian consumers prefer to buy products with no health claims, why do some manufacturers in France simply not bother to use them, and how do linguistics affect our impression of the benefits of the food we eat? Join the conversation on Table Talk to find out. 

About Professor Rodney Jones

Rodney Jones, Professor of Sociolinguistics, Head of Department, University of Reading

Rodney’s main areas of interest are discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, and language and digital media. He is particularly interested in how digital media affect the way people conduct social interactions and manage social identities.

For the past two decades he has been involved with the late Professor Ron Scollon and other colleagues in developing an approach to discourse called mediated discourse analysis, the principles of which are laid out in his 2005 book with Sigrid Norris Discourse in Action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis.

He has applied this approach to a range of contexts including health and risk communication, classroom discourse, professional communication, computer mediated communication, and language and creativity. Rodney has authored/edited twelve books and over fifty journal articles and book chapters.

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