1 Centro Universitário Estácio de Sá. Florianopolis, Brazil
Nutrition labeling is intended to be a vehicle of communication between the consumer and the product. However, several investigations carried out show that the reports described on the labels, are often not used by consumers, mainly for lack of knowledge. The objective of this study was to evaluate the understanding of consumers on the nutritional information on food labels by consumers of a supermarket chain in São José/SC, in southern Brazil. Data collection took place between August and October 2014, through a questionnaire with closed questions about education, reading habits and understanding the labels of food products, totaling 100 participants, who signed the informed consent and informed. Among respondents, 28% had education up to the upper level, 58% had completed high school, 13% had elementary education and only 1% illiterate. When asked about the habit of reading labels only 43% said they performed and the level of education did not interfere in this habit, since more than half of respondents with higher education (56%), did not read the labels. For consumers who have the habit of reading, the reason for consultation was questioned, and can be verified that 26% observe the information to know what they are consuming, followed by 14% who reported as a reason health care. When asked about the the understanding of the nutritional information on labels, 63% responded partially understand, 26% do not understand anything and just 11% stressed understand everything, and the level of education did not affect the level of understanding of consumers. However, it can be concluded that new educational actions must be created and directed to read and understand labels, providing consumers with a better understanding of what is being consumed, favoring individuals healthier food choices.