Two University of Minnesota researchers studied the impact of nutrition information provided through popular media on consumers’ purchases in grocery stores. They studied omega-3 fortified eggs as an example. According to the authors, Sakiko Shiratori and Jean Kinsey, the results showed a significant positive impact of nutritional information from the popular media on consumers’ food choices. They also found that publishing stories in popular media can effectively promote consumers’ health.
They conclude, “The impact of nutritional information from the popular media on consumers’ food choices is substantial. Although Omega-3 fortified eggs usually sell at a premium price compared to the typical eggs, growing knowledge of the health benefits of Omega-3 propels their consumption. To change dietary behaviors in order to promote health, publishing in popular media can be said to be an effective communication approach.”
The 2011 study takes into account other factors contributing to food choices such as price, income, household demographics or regional differences.
Positive, scientific nutritional information presented in a variety of mass media shifted consumer demand.
My take on this: This study makes a pretty compelling case for PR when food companies have a positive story to tell. In future posts, I’ll discuss other studies related to media and food. I began my career in food advertising and worked on food accounts almost exclusively for my first ten years in the advertising industry.
If you’ve never heard of Omega-3 Eggs, this article provides a good summary. The heart you save may be your own.