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Outcomes

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CLYMBOL has studied how health claims and symbols affect understanding, purchasing and consumption behaviour, with the aim of developing recommendations to strengthen an informed food choice and as such healthy eating, but also foster industrial competitiveness.

Based on an initial overview of all study goals and a series of podcasts introducing the project, we have published several articles that summarise project findings, including our series of newsletters.

Our main areas of interest have been:

1) Providing an overview of the current availability of health claims and symbols, in their context, on European food markets

We have interviewed experts all over Europe to understand the history of use as well as the current situation of health claims and health symbols, how they are regulated and monitored on a national level. Our findings have been published in the European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety.

We have further sampled foods in 5 European countries, to extract all available product-related information and produce an overview of claims that are currently on the market. We will publish our data set here, once the project has finished (August 2016). Read our results in Nutrients and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. We further compared available claims on the market to the current disease burden in Europe. Read our first findings here.

Find a video summary of our work here!

2) Determining the differences in consumer needs, motivation and ability to use health claims and symbols

We have undertaken a series of qualitative studies to better understand how consumers make sense of different claims. Read our first set of findings in Health Psychology.
Additionally, we have carried out a 10-country study to investigate how able and motivated consumers are to process health claims and symbols. We will publish our findings here.

Find a video summary of our work here!

3) Developing best practice recommendations for measuring the effect of health claims and symbols on understanding, purchasing and consumption for different consumer groups

We have reviewed methodologies to assess consumer understanding of health claims and symbols as well as their effects on purchase and consumption behaviour. A select number of methods were tested and validated to derive recommendations on which methods to use to best answer a number of research questions. Click here to download the report!

Find a video summary of our work here!

4) Delivering scientific evidence on how health claims and symbols are understood by consumers and how this information contributes to healthier food choices, e.g. at the point of purchase

We are in the process of writing up all results from this empirical work. You can listen to interviews with some of our main researchers here, to hear first insights into select studies.

Find a first video summary of our work here!

5) Developing policy recommendations on the provision of health claims and symbols, in their specific context, in order to support informed consumer choice, healthy eating, and industry competitiveness

Using the Delphi method, we have designed several rounds of input/feedback from select experts, to assess the project’s implications, suggested recommendations and communication guidelines, for various stakeholders: the food industry, policy makers, consumer representations but also media. We give first insights into our findings in our newsletter and will publish our final report once available here.


In an invited editorial, we raise questions around health claims and symbols, based on our findings. Read the editorial of Agro FOOD Industry Hi Tech here!