Consumer Awareness and Usage of Nutrition Information in Botswana
Nutrition information enables consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing and consuming food products. Despite this, the issue of consumer awareness and usage of nutrition information has attracted little research attention in developing countries. This study presents findings of an empirical investigation of nutrition information awareness and usage in Botswana. The study is descriptive and data was collected using a structured questionnaire administered to a sample of 150 consumers in Gaborone, the Capital City of Botswana. A mall-intercept technique was used in the selection of the respondents. The main findings of the study indicate that the level of awareness of nutrition information among the sampled consumers is relatively high, and that the majority of them use nutrition information to inform food purchases. The study further finds that whereas nutrition information awareness does not significantly differ across the demographic segments, usage differs. Lack of knowledge and interest are the main factors that prevent consumers from using nutrition information. Nutrition information is mostly used when comparing products or when buying food products for the first time. These findings highlight the need to improve nutrition education in Botswana. The findings also suggest that food producers in Botswana need to use nutrition information to differentiate their products from competitors’. Similarly, the findings highlight the need for the food industry in Botswana to establish more effective nutrition information labeling standards. However, these findings need to be interpreted with caution as they are based on consumers’ self-report of nutrition information use, which is highly subjective.
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