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Consumers nowadays are becoming more conscious of good health and proper nutrition. They are not only aware of the kind of food they eat but they are also interested to learn about healthier and nutritious diets to help them cope with their lifestyle at the same time, chronic degenerative diseases or “lifestyle diseases” are increasing twenty one out of 100 adults are hypertensive and 4 out every 100 diabetic (FNRI, 2008).
Micronutrient deficiencies are still prevalent among Filipino today. The latest survey done by the FNRI in 1998 revealed that 31 out of 100 Filipinos are anemic and 36 out of 100 children have moderate to severe iodine deficiency disorder.
With the advent of the new food technology, processed food products are increasing in the markets today. One can regularly see on television, or read in the magazines or newspaper articles about food and health. The increasing urbanization in the Philippines has also resulted in dramatic changes in the lifestyle of the people, which contributes, to the growing consumption of manufactured goods. Cup Noodles for an instant, it is placed in a handy and convenient packaging. This makes it easy to carry and eat during quick breaks at long hours at the office. Indeed, there is an expanding consumer demand for nutritious, convenient and quality foods to promote health and prevent diseases.
Government and private organizations strive to provide consumers with the essential nutrients deficient in their diets through programs such as food and micronutrient supplementation, food fortification, and health education. Recently, the Food and Drugs Administration (FAD) began promoting the use of certified “fortified” processed foods, such as cup and instant noodles, sardines, powdered juice, hotdog, margarine and cheese etc. The Department of Health has campaigned for the purchase of fortified food products with the “Sangkap Pinoy” seal to ensure good quality foods. The DOH program on “Healthy Lifestyle” recommends a reduction in the intake salt, total fat, saturated fat, and sugar, avoidance of smoking and medication in the consumption of alcoholic beverages to prevent chronic degenerative diseases.
Food labels are intended to help make informed choices about food for better health. Consumers will greatly benefit from food labels if they are used as guide in food selection and purchase. It is a nutritionist/dietician; the writer sees the need to assess the value of food labels and its impacts to consumers.


This study was conducted to assess the consumer’s knowledge of nutritional facts and the perception of Call Center Agents in Makati City. As more consumers now are being more conscious of their health, they tend to scan first the Nutritional Facts of Nissin Cup Noodles.
There is much information that can be found in the Nissin Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts. People look at food labels for different reasons. But whatever the reason, many consumers would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily.
This topic was chosen, because the increasing consciousness of the market towards what they eat has captured the attention of the researchers.
This research was conducted to know the perception of the Office Workers in Makati City and to measure the effectiveness their knowledge of the Nissin Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts and does their knowledge affects their buying behavior.


This study is done to assess the consumer knowledge of Office Workers in Makati City towards Nissin Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts. The study seeks to know the answer to the following sub problems:

1. What is the Profile of the respondents in terms of: a. Office Type b. Age c. Gender d. Civil status e. Education f. Occupation g. Food Budget h. Health Status A. Psychographic a. Lifestyle

2. What do consumers understand about the nutritional facts of Nissin Cup Noodles? 3. How do the consumers understand the nutritional facts Nissin Cup Noodles when it comes to their health? 4. Does the consumer’s knowledge of Nissin Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts affect their buying behavior for the product? 5. What are the benefits of having knowledge about the Nissin Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts?


The Consumers are knowledgeable to understand the Nutritional facts of Nissin Cup Noodles; enough to affect their buying behavior towards the product.

Significance of the Study

Results of the study can provide useful insights about consumers’ behavior relative to nutritional facts. Findings can serve as basis for formulating strategies and action programs for nutrition education in: a) conducting awareness in food labels’ existence and purpose; b) educating the consumers on how to read and use the food label and; c) redirecting or developing campaign materials for consumers.

This research will entirely benefit the company in which they will be able to identify what the consumers understand about the nutritional facts found on Nissin Cup Noodles and does their knowledge affects their buying behavior.
The consumer will also benefit the study in which they will understand better the importance of knowing and understanding the importance of food labels that are found in packaging of foods.
The future marketing researches in which they will be able to use this study as a references or guide to create a better study.

Conceptual Framework

This study adopted the framework shown in Figure 1, which illustrates the factors assumed affect the use of Nissin’s Cup Noodles Nutritional Facts, and which shows the interaction between these factors.
Figure 1.


The conceptual model guiding the study is shown in Fig. 1. It is an adaptation of the hierarchy of effects model proposed by Grunert and Wills (2007) for studying effects of nutrition labels on consumers, and it follows the tradition of streams of research in consumer decision-making and attitude formation and change (Eagly and Chaiken 1993; McGuire 1985; Peter 1999; Solomon 2006). In order for nutrition labels to have any effect, consumers must be exposed to them and must perceive them. The effect will then be mediated by consumer understanding, which in turn will be affected by consumers’ nutrition knowledge. Based on their understanding, consumers may then use the label information to make inferences or opinions and conclusions about the healthiness of the product, which, together with other information (e.g. about the taste of the product), may affect the evaluation and eventually the purchase decision with regard to the product. Only the shaded parts of the model are dealt within this study.


Makati City was selected for the following reasons: it is the financial center of the Philippines and one of the major financial, commercial and economic hubs in Asia; there are supermarkets in this city which display the same processed food with nutrition labels and with “Sangkap Pinoy” seal.
In this study purchase of “quality products” by the respondents was limited to fortified products registered with the Department of Health (DOH).

This study limited itself to analyzing respondents’ practice of reading and buying nutritionally labeled products.One limitation found in the use of questionnaire is on the uncertainty of the researchers regarding the respondents’ honesty in the questions. Limitations relates to the generalization of results. Results should not be generalized to the broader population for the researchers will only use 300 respondents from the private companies in Makati City.


Age – refers to the actual number of age in years. Several studies reported that Nutritional Facts use differed significantly by age group. Guthrie says label users are mostly middle age (35-54), Bender and Derby (1992) say 25-34 and Bender and Fein (1996) observed them as middle age.
Civil status – categorized as single, married, single parent and widow, these factors to assume to affect the degree of responsibility an individual feels in carrying out his role in the family.
Educational status – refers to the highest level of education obtained by the respondent in formal education. Three studies be Guthrie, Bender and Derby and Bender and Fein shows that the more or better educated person is, the more she is a label user.
Food budget – the percentage of total monthly income dispensable for food, which is categorized to four: less than 50%, 50%, 51-70% and above 70%. Guthrie et al. (1995) noted that “the highest income groups were label users.”
Health status – the presence of diet – related diseases among family members (which may imply an added interest for more nutritious foods).
Nature of occupation – the position of the respondent in the office categorized as administrative, supervisory, clerical and maintenance/janitor/driver/messenger. These positions may affect the knowledge scores of respondents regarding Nutritional facts.

Chapter 2
Review of Related Literature

History of Nutrition Labeling

The United States adopted labeling requirements the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act (PFDA) which mandated both adulteration and misbranding a Federal offense. The Federal Food, Drug and cosmetic (FDCA) 1938 laid the foundation for the current Federal food labeling regulation. The FDCA defined requirements for basic information on food labels and for nutrient content of special dietary foods (ADA reports, 1989). The law prohibited statements in food labels that were false that were false or misleading.
In 1990, the United States Congress passed the Nutrition Label and Education Act (NLEA) which was signed into law. This Act aimed to reduce consumer confusion about food labels and aided them in making healthy food choices, to encourage product innovation and to give manufacturers an incentive to improve the quality of the food and to make healthy food choices available (Wilkening 1993). Nutrition labeling became effective in 1975, 43% of packaged processed food in the United States carried a nutrition label. The number increased to approximately 61% by 1988 (Geiger, 1991).

Food labeling in the Philippines was begun in 1963, 56 years after the United States has started implementing it. Nutrition labeling evolved from the concern for protecting the consumers from economic and health risks. It started from developed countries with a growing demand for pre-packaged/processed foods. Increasing urbanization in the Philippines resulted in changes in lifestyle, which influenced the growing consumption of manufactured foods.

Nutrition labels contain information on the food products’ content of selected nutrients and food constituents, expressed in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the reference daily value. However, vitamin and mineral content may be expressed as a percentage of the reference daily value.
The amount of the following nutrients should be reflected on nutrition labels based on Nutrition Labeling Education Act (NLEA) specifications: (1) total calories, (2) calories from fat, (3) total fat, (4) saturated fat, (5) cholesterol, (6) sodium, (7) total carbohydrate, (8) dietary fiber, (9) sugar, (10) other carbohydrates,(11) proteins, (12) vitamin A., (13) calcium, (14) vitamin c and (15) iron. Information on other nutrients.

In addition, labels should show daily values expressed as maximum values, ex. Fat “65 grams or less” or as minimum values, ex. “300 grams or more of carbohydrates”. Also, the reference daily values are based on a 2,000 and 2,500 kcal intake, with a qualifier that values may be higher or lower depending one’s caloric needs. Reference amounts or values must be translated into label statement in common household measures and metric measurements like ½ cup (125 grams).

Nutrition Labeling in other Countries

Canada and United States have similarity in basic requirement such as ingredients listing, nutritional equivalency of food and standards, but set forth rules based on quite different views on fortification, health claims and serving sizes (Shapiro, 1996). Moreover, the strength of the Canadian Labeling system lies in its control of claims, whereas a weakness is its format. (Rapport, 1992)

In Europe, the European Union, composed of 15 nations that make up the European community issued a comprehensive set of directives on various aspects of food labeling. When nutrient labeling is provided, the following information is required as of October 1, 1993: information must be provided on energy value, protein, carbohydrates and fat. As of October 5, 1995, with respect to any voluntary nutrition labeling or when a nutrition claim is made, information must also be on sugars, salt, fat, fiber and sodium.
In Japan, as in the United States and the European Union, the country’s labeling laws have imposed a number of unique labeling regulation and the ordinary linguistic needs of Japanese people dictate the creation of a market-specific label for food firms that ship production to Japan.

Foreign Studies on Food Labeling

Guthrie (1995) conducted a study on who uses nutrition labeling and what effect of label has on diet quality. The purposes of their study were to identify the characteristics of consumers using nutrition labels and to examine the effects of the use of nutrition label on diet quality. Moreover, Guthrie et. Al., used the data from USDA 1989 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) and Diet Health and Nutrition Survey (DKHS), a government-funded and nationally collected data, to relate to knowledge and attitude concerning diet and health to reported dietary intakes of about 1,091 consumers.

In the same study, the dependent variable was label use and the independent variable were six major categories with their specific indicators, namely, a) individual characteristics such as age, sex and education; b) situational variables including time constraints and current physical condition (ex. Illness); c) marketing environment including characteristics such as urbanization and product displays; d) product importance, that is the importance to the consumer of a product or of a product attribute such as nutrition; e) prior knowledge about nutrition or about product attribute related to a food; and f) consumer decision-making strategy, that is, the attitude and values that guide the consumers in seeking out, evaluating and using the product information such as the desire to limit sodium, fat, cholesterol or to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients (Guthrie et. Al, 1995)

The knowledge test consisted of a 21-item questionnaire on food values using multiple choice methods. Attitude test was measured through statements regarding avoidance or approach to a specific food item. Avoidance means avoiding nutrients which are disease-causing like eating too much fat, sugar, salt/sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. Approach means seeking nutrients which are beneficial or disease-preventing like adequate starch, six servings of bread, cereals, grain, and adequate fiber. The respondents were then rated on a on a scale of 1 to 6 where “1” is not at all important and “6” very important. Use of nutrition label information is measured by asking the question, “How often do you use this information in choosing foods?” Possible responses were “always” or sometimes and are interpreted as “yes” while responses like “rarely” or “never” are interpreted as “no”. Furthermore, “use” in this study means the response of consumers towards information on nutrition labels and the time spent using the labels as reflected in better food choices/purchases. Guthrie et. Al., (1995) even expressed, “For consumers to benefit from nutrition labels, the first step is to read the label.”

Another study by Debra Reid (1992) explored the role consumers’ attitude and behaviors about three sources of nutrition on food labels (nutrition panel, ingredients, claims) play in food selection. Personal interviews of primary grocery shoppers (80% female and 20% male) from 820 household in five cities were undertaken. The instrument included three behavior test using actual food packages to probe consumers’ choices. The first test for general preference used three brands in a product category. Subjects were asked to identify the one they would be more likely to buy. The second test was for health-promoted choice and consumers were asked to reconsider their first choice and choose the product they felt would be healthier for their family and their reason for choosing the product. The third test was to identify which among the three brands has the least fat and how consumers could determine it.

Results revealed that the three types of nutrition information were all considered very or somewhat important by 74% to 82% respectively. These pieces of information were: ingredient list (78%), claims, (75%) and nutrition panel (70%). Also, the use of claims increases and the use of ingredients decrease when consumers were asked to select the health-promoted choice. An average of 25% used the information in the nutrition panel in product selection. Seventy Percent (70%) considered nutrition to be extremely or very important in choosing food, while 7% considered this to be of little importance. Sixty four percent read labels while 36% did not read the labels. Of the 64% who read packages for nutrition information, most their reading in the store, when choosing between products (71%) and when buying a product for the first time (46%). Jacoby, Chestnut, and Silberman (1977) made a study on consumer use and comprehension of nutrition information. The first study was on sixty Purdue undergraduate students making breakfast cereal purchase decisions. Subjects were presented an array of product information placing them into a purchase simulation and permitting them to acquire none, some or all of this information prior to their decisions to purchase. The second study was on 205 consumers shopping for breakfast cereals confronted with 480 (30 types of information and 16 leading brands of cereals) separate information values with actual brand names serving as labels over each column of brand-relate deformation, consumers typically selected from between 10-12 information values before arriving at a purchase decision. However, consumers were given 30 cents off coupons good upon purchase of only one brand selected. Results revealed relatively high levels of confidence and satisfaction with the br5and chosen. To adjust for product familiarity, half of shoppers in study two made margarine purchase decisions without brand names but with only numbers as labels and the other half with brand names. Results revealed that purchases tend to acquire more info. Without brand names than with brand names, the case of brand loyalty, there may actually be a tendency to avoid package search such as nutrition labels, altogether. Moreover, older consumers (over 60 yrs) acquired an average of only one value for any single type of nutrition information, while younger people (under 30 yrs) acquired nearly double this amount.

Another study by Fullmer, Geiger, and Parent (1991) was made to assess consumers’ knowledge of current fiber recommendations and their attitudes, understanding, awareness of health claim on breakfast cereal labels. Fullmer, Geiger and Parent used an incidental sample of 241 shoppers (home-makers, mostly between ages 34-35, married, had attended college) from four grocery stores of a local chain in Utah. The store locations were determined by socio-economic level and traffic volume. Data were collected using a computerized interviewing system. In this study, four cereal boxes with different types of diet-disease messages on the label were exhibited during the interviews. Two brands boxes come from Kellogg Co. and the other two boxes were from different brand or companies. Hypotheses used in the study were: 1) there is a positive correlation between knowledge of fiber and attitude towards diet-disease related messages on food labels; and 2) there is a positive correlation between education and understanding of diet-disease related messages. In this same study, knowledge test was measured using 15-item questions. The questions focused on fibers’ function, classification, current recommendation and the role of diet. The questions could be answered by true or false and/or multiple choice. For the attitude or perception towards healthy claims on food label a 13-item attitudinal evaluation was used with a graphic positioning scale of 1-50. The extreme left meant, “strongly agree” and on the extreme right the response meant “strongly disagree”. The middle of the scale is 25 and worded as neutral. The test statements are on government regulation, the appropriateness for manufacturers to use die-disease related messages on food labels and diet-disease claims, their accuracy, the nutrients to be included/excluded in the label. Results revealed that consumers with better education also had a better understanding of diet-disease related messages and a more positive attitude toward health messages on food labels; that knowledge of fiber was significantly correlated with positive attitude towards health messages and understanding of health messages; that attitudes towards placing diet-disease related messages on food labels were positive.

Marietta, Welshimer and Anderson (1999) studied knowledge, attitude and behaviors of college students regarding the 1990 Nutrition Labeling Education Act on food labels. The purpose of the study was to examine knowledge, attitude and behavior off 208 college students regarding labels and relations among these factors, and whether educational experience with labels was associated with label-reading knowledge, attitude ad behavior. A descriptive-survey, non-experimental research design was used. The knowledge test included nine multiple-choice questions on the meaning of certain terms or phrases that may appear on the label, and basic nutrition knowledge. The attitude test included a five-item Likert scale regarding the usefulness, accuracy, and truthfulness of food labels; and the behavior test included the general use of the label; whether students look for the label when purchasing food, especially when the product is new to them. Results revealed that students’ mean knowledge score was positively correlated with attitudes toward labels (r=.14, P=.04) and use of labels (r=.87, P=.0001). Previous education in reading labels was associated with higher knowledge scores read at the nutrition facts label when purchasing product for the first time.
Form the above studies; knowledge is measured using statements directed towards the purpose of the study. But the responses were true or false, plus “don’t knows” and multiple-choice questions. The contents varied and focused more on nutrition knowledge. Only two studies focused on nutrition labels (Fullmer, Geiger and Parent, 1991 and Marietta, Welshimer and Anderson, 199). Attitude is measured by statements on nutrition labels, specifically on how the labels were viewed whether they were useful, important or accurate and their health and nutrional contribution, government regulation and others. Lastly, practice is measured by reading or the usage of information in address their present needs/conditions and to avoid certain ingredients such as salt, fat, cholesterol, to avoid illness to achieve healthier diet and to find information on vitamin and mineral content.

This study was guided by the economic model of information search which was first introduced by Stigler in 1961. The information search model proposes the use of product information; e.g., nutrition labels, which involved a process of utilizing the product information, evaluating its meaning and making a decision based on evaluation.
For the purpose of this study the following variables mentioned by Guthrie (1995) have been considered in assessing the determinants of knowledge, attitude and practice of food labels. These variables are individual characteristics such as age, sex, and education; situational variables including time constraints and current physical condition (e.g. illness); marketing environment including characteristics such as urbanization and product displays; product importance, which is the importance to the consumer of a product or of a product attribute such as nutrition; prior knowledge; and consumer decision consumer decision making strategy which is the attitude and values that guide consumers in seeking out, evaluating and using the product information such as the desire to limit sodium fat, cholesterol or to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrient.

Instant Noodles on Health Concerns

"The noodles themselves are pretty harmless," said Ron Konzak, author of The Book of Ramen. (Yes, someone actually wrote a book about ramen. There are web sites devoted to the topic, too.) "Usually it's the MSG in the flavor packets that can harm people on low sodium [diets] or [who are] allergic to the stuff." MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a "flavor enhancer" used to improve the taste of sweet, salty, bitter, or sour foods. Supposedly, it has a pleasant flavor of its own. Instant noodle makers use it to make their shrimp flavors "shrimpier" and beef flavors "beefier." According to Stephanie Brooks, a San Francisco Bay Area dietitian, MSG triggers an allergic reaction in 1 to 2% of the population. "People allergic to MSG can get burning sensations, chest and facial flushing, or pain and headaches from it," Brooks said.
Even those who don't suffer from those symptoms should be careful not to overdo it when it comes to the noodles, or at least the flavor packs, which Brooks says are also high in sodium. A sampling of the three main brands of instant noodles revealed sodium amounts of 687 to 830 milligrams per serving. (That's 28 to 34% of the recommended daily value for a person consuming a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.) On top of that, each serving contains between 7 and 11 grams of total fat (11 to 17% of the recommended daily value).

Instant noodles are often criticized as unhealthy or junk food. A single serving of instant noodles is high in carbohydrates but low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Noodles are typically fried as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in high levels of saturated fat and/or transfat. Additionally, if served in an instant broth, instant noodles typically contain high amounts of sodium. The current U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of sodium for adults and children over 4 years old is 2,400 mg/day; in extreme cases, some brands may contain over 3,000 mg of sodium per package. Instant noodles and the flavoring soup base also contain high amounts of monosodium glutamate.

The most recent controversy concerns dioxin and other hormone-like substances that could theoretically be extracted from the packaging and glues used to pack the instant noodles. It was reasoned that harmful substances could seep into the soup as hot water was added to cup style instant noodles. After a series of studies were conducted, various organizations requested changes in the packaging to address these concerns. Another concern regarding the consumption of fried foods, including instant noodles, is the possible presence of oxidation products resulting from poor maintenance of the oil. If the cooking oil is not maintained at the proper temperature or changed as often as necessary, these oxidation products, which are suspected to pose various health risks, can be present in the foods. Proper production standards minimize the risk.

The labeling of food products in the U.S. derives from the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FDCA). To help minimize legal action and delays, manufacturers and importers must fully understand the laws and regulations of the United States before offering foods for distribution. The FD&C Act requires that most foods bear a nutrition label as well as a nutrient content claims label. Currently, Mexico’s regulatory process is based on its “Federal Law of Metrology and Standardization,” published in Mexico’s Diario Oficial (Federal Register) on July 1, 1992. The law provides for two types of regulations-mandatory Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOMs) and voluntary Normas Mexicanas (NMX). NOMs entered into force on November 1, 1996, excluding the nutritional information, which later entered into force on January 1, 1998.

Labeling Requirements

Both countries require some form of label requirements that are country specific. Many of the statutory labeling requirements for the U.S. come from section 403 of the FDCA, which lists circumstances of foods considered “misbranded.” Foods that are labeled “misbranded”. Food Safety Regulations on Labeling Requirements in the United States and Mexico Carolina Abrigo must following these five requirements: (1) Mandatory labeling of the name of the food, ingredient statement, net quantity, and the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor; (2) Mandatory standards of identity; (3) Labeling of imitation foods; (4) Nutrition information for special dietary foods; and (5) Prohibition of any false or misleading claims. The informationpresented on a U.S. food label is required to appear in English, with the exception of a label that bears presentations in a foreign language, both English and foreign language must appear on the label.
According to Mexico’s 1994 Labeling Decree products being imported into Mexico must provide the following information in Spanish, similar to the U.S. if a product bears representation in a foreign language the information provided must express both languages on the label (1) The name of the product or merchandise; (2) The name of the business and address of the importer; (3) The importer’s RFC # and/or their industry association registration number; (4) The name or business name of the exporter, (5) The net contents as specified in NOM-030-SCFI-1993; (6) Warnings or precautions on hazardous materials; (7) The use, handling and care instructions for the products as required; and (8) The country of origin on goods destined for retail sale in the Mexican market.
The U.S. standards for labeling are more detailed concerning the Principle Display Panel. PDP is one of the most important labeling elements found on a product. The PDP label is most visible to the consumer at the time of purchase. The use of letters on a label must be at least one sixteenth (1/16) inch in height based on the lower case letter "o". The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background and easy to read.
Regarding Mexico’s labeling standards they do not specify the size or location of the label on the product. The law does require that labels be attached or stickered onto the product during the time of importation into Mexico.

Nutritional Facts Labeling

Both U.S. and Mexico require some form of a nutritional facts label, which is a label required on most pre-packed goods in North America. In Mexico, food products sold use the product labeling standard NOM-051-SCFI-1994. NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana) is the Official Mexican Standard, developed by the Mexican Secretary of Commerce and Industrial Promotion (Secretaría de Comercio y Fomento Industrial, or SCFI), now a part of the Secretary of the Economy (SECOF I ).
All descriptions used to inform a consumer about any nutritive elements found in a pre-packaged food item must cover two aspects of nutritional information: mandatory and supplemental. According, to Mexico’s regulations on nutritional information the label of pre-packaged products is voluntary. It is only mandatory when a quantity or quality declaration of a nutritional property is specified. For example, Mexico declares the following items as mandatory nutritional items a) energy contents; b) protein, available carbohydrates and fat (lipid) quantities; and c) sodium quantity.
Under the U.S. Nutritional Facts panel the mandatory items required that were not similar to those of Mexico’s were: a) total calories, b) calories from fat, c) total fat, d) saturated fat, e) cholesterol, f) dietary fiber, g) sugars, h) protein, i) vitamin A, C, j) calcium, and k) iron.
Both countries declare the nutrients on the nutrition panel the only difference is the name in which they use to define the percentage declared for example, Mexico’s used the recommended daily intake (allowance), whereas the U.S. uses % Daily Value.

Nutrition Labeling Practices for processed foods in the Philippines

At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FAD) has enforced guidelines on micronutrient fortification of processed foods to address the present malnutrition problems of Filipinos on the deficiencies in three micronutrients (Vitamin A, iron and iodine) and protein energy malnutrition. Food fortification shall be carried out to promote public through improved nutritional quality of the food supply.
The Department of Health launched the “Sangkap Pinoy” seal program to encourage food manufacturers to fortify food products with one or more of the suggested micronutrients for preventing and eliminating micronutrient deficiencies among Filipinos. A seal of acceptance is also issued to food manufacturers producing fortified processed food products for local consumption. To date twenty six products carry the “Sangkap Pinoy” seal in the market. The are Star and Minola margarine ; Minola edible oil : Eight o’clock and Tang juice drinks; Cheezee and Eden cheese; 555 sardines; Swift hotdogs; Pipo and Nico chips, regain chips, magic flakes, mr chips, tomi, humpy-dumpy and jack and jill cheese curls snack foods; lucky me, payless and maggi instant noodles; u-care milk;ovaltine; gerber products; white king waffle mix; kraft miracle whip; nutri-pak of the nutrition center of the Philippines and papa ketsup (banana sauce).
Furthermore, the application of food labels in the Philippines is covered by two laws a) republic Act no. 33720 or the Food, drugs and cosmetic Act (1963), further amended by executive order (e.o) no. 175 (1987) into the Food, Drugs, Devices and cosmetic Act, and lately (1992) b) consumer Act of the Philippines that specify provisions for mandatory labeling of food products. These two legal instruments define minimum information to be reflected in food labels as follows: 1. Name of the food 2. List ingredients 3. Net contents and drained weight 4. Name and Address of manufacturer, packer, distributor 5. Lot identification 6. Artificial color or flavor, preservatives and other chemical food additives 7. expiry or Expiration date

Objective and Uses of Labels

The provision of Philippine law on food labeling aim to protect the consumers and uphold their right to choose. The food, Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Act (R.A. No. 3720) aims to ensure safe and good quality products to protect the health of the chapter on labeling for all processed products, including non-food items, which provides that labeling should “enable the consumers to obtain accurate information as to the nature, quality and quantity of the contents of the consumer products to facilitate comparison of the value of such products”. It also consists of two components namely, nutrition labeling and educational nutrition information (codex committee on food labeling, 1981).
In addition, nutrition labels aim to describe the nutritional qualities of food products and informatively. They also provide a means for conveying information of the nutrient content of products to advise consumers in the wise choice of food (FAO/WHO, 1988). Although nutrition education is not the primary purpose of nutrition labeling, it does support nutrition education activities as it encourages the use of sound nutrition principles in the formulation of food which would be a benefit to public health (E-Siong, 1994). The food label packaged is the best and most important vehicle to put the nutrition information in every processed food and is only one of the many sources of nutrition information. Moreover, it is viewed as an extension of food labeling. Lastly, Camille Brewer, a registered nutritionist/dietician stated, “just to have the information on the label is a big push for consumers on therapeutic diets.”
Furthermore, the food label has been an educational tool and a shopping aid that enables consumers to compare the nutritional values of different brands or different foods and to compare new products with the more familiar ones (Bender and Derby, 1992). Labels also provide information that help consumers count calories or select foods for special diets ex. Low sodium diet. Food labels enable Americans to select foods that may help reduce the risks of developing diet-related diseases and thus reduce medical costs, low productivity, and lost income due to premature death or disability (Bender and Derby, 1992)
Nutrition label is a means by which food manufacturers and retailers can make consumers more aware of the nutritional properties of their food products (E-siong). Bender and Derby (19920 added that it serves as a marketing tool and a potential pay-off to increase sales. Furthermore, it provides consumers with good quality, wholesome foods, adequately labeled.
However, Schucker (1985) pointed out that nutrition labeling is expensive. It increases food prices because it requires new food assays, increases mislabeling risk and requires new labeling. It means more taxes because it means more FDA supervision and surveillance. Jacoby, Chestnut and Silberman (1997), on the other hand, says that by placing information into package panel, we engage in printing and nothing more. The contention amounts to “communication”. The problem revolves around the distinction between information provision and impact to consumers. Wherefore, nutrition labels and food labels are synonymous terms used in the United States because all processed food contains food ingredients and nutrition information as mandatory. In the Philippines, it is not mandatory to include nutrition information in food labels. Most of the studies cited these papers were conducted abroad.

Philippine Studies on food labeling

In the Philippines, a study was done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in 1989 on “Vitamin C Labeling of Selected Commercially Processed and Packaged Juice Drinks”. Vitamin C labeling was evaluated by comparison of Vitamin C content of samples collected in 1987 and 1989; the validity of the label claims; product differences; and the contribution to the RDA of 10-12 year old children. The product was analyzed for the Vitamin C content claimed in their labels either qualitatively (added, enriched, fortified) and quantitatively (9-60mg/100g). Actual assays showed contents ranging from less than .05mg/100g for traces to 58mg/100g. The results revealed that 1989 label claims were found valid in three tetra brick-pack and one foil laminated-packaged juice drinks, out of the six products bearing quantified claims.
Recently, Castañeda and Fermin (1999) of the College of the Holy Spirit conducted a study from October 1998 to May 1999 on perception and attitudes towards food labels was conducted among members of the Mendiola Consortium to find out if various consumers read and understood food labels. The study involved 120 professionals, non-professional, graduate and college students, high school and grade school pupils randomly sampled from members of the Mendiola Consortium. Results revealed that 80% of the respondents from all categories were knowledgeable and were conscious of food labels. While all of them knew the basics of the label and the contents of the labels, high school students and most professionals were after the nutritional information found on the products packaging.

Correlates of Food/ Nutrition Labeling

There were findings that the following consumer characteristics were positively associated with the livelihood of being labels users: at least a college education, female, living with other rather than living alone, more knowledgeable about nutrition, believes that the principle of the dietary guideline for American are important, more concerned about nutrition and product safety and less about taste when shopping for food. Bender and Derby (1992) noted “a label user is more likely to plan meals in advance than those who do not use food labels”. Labels uses are greater among females and persons on special diets (those who are self-innovated are more likely to pay attention to nutrition label than those who are not on a diet or who are on a doctor-prescribed diet). It was also noted that a substantial proportion of U.S. consumers reported using ingredient list (74%) nutrition label (74%) while many consumers used ingredient and nutrition panel (63%) Jacoby, Chestnut and Silberman (1977) reported that family income is one-socio economic characteristic associated with a consumer use and comprehension on nutrition labels.
The USA leads with respect to food labeling. It has moved from using food label to protect consumers from the risk, of certain disease (Geiger et. Al, 1991). In fact, mandatory labeling started as early as 1970’s for certain products and certain nutrients, andatory labeling in the U.S. has been further strengthened with the passage of NLEA in 1990.

The Philippines, on the other hand uses food labels mainly for consumer protection against economic risk or unfavorable trade practices and to lesser extent, to protect consumer from health risk associated with the use of additives and preservatives, but not risk associated with the use of certain nutrients ex. Fat, cholesterol and sodium, while nutrition labeling in the U.S. is mandatory, in the Philippines it is not. Nonetheless, the latter has guidelines covering the declaration of nutrition information on food labels.
There seems to be very little local literature on the extent to which food and nutrition label are read and used by the Filipino consumer, and the knowledge and attitude regarding food labels.

Moreover, several studies indicated that most consumers are not knowledgeable about food and nutrition labels and even have difficulty in understanding food labels especially to the nutrition fact/information. Attitude towards food labels showed labels use in different degree, for varying reasons and by different kinds of people. For some, it is useful for the purpose of information, for consumer protection, consumer education and for the avoidance of misbranding. However, labels, especially nutrition facts are also misused when consumers deliberately ignore out specific nutrients or ingredients. Also, consumers like to see information that suits their present condition only.
Finally, food label has been reviewed as a basis for formulating strategies and action programs for consumers, food industries and government purposes. A supermarket dogged about a food nutrition labeling has this to say.

General Provisions • Prepackaged food shall not be described or presented on any label or in any labeling in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create erroneous impression regarding its character in any respect. • Food packages shall have labels that carry the necessary information about the product. • The “Principal Display Panel” of the label shall be that part which, either through design or general use, is presented or shown to the consumer under customary conditions of display for retail sale. • The “Information Panel” of the label shall be that part immediately continuous to the principal display panel and in the case of rectangular, cylindrical or four-sided (tetra-pak) containers, any of the sides adjacent to the principal display panel except the bottom side which serves as the base of package. • Every word, figure or statement required appearing on the label or labeling shall be printed legibly with such conspicuousness and in such terms as to render it likely to be understood under customary condition of purchase and use. Where the label of a food package is so small that it prevents the use of letters of the prescribed size or where it concerns secondary or optional information, letters or proportionately reduced size may be used provided the prescribed particulars are visible and legibly shown and the designated label space is proportional to the size of the package.



The researchers will use Descriptive Research design to gather pertinent information. This will utilize to know the involvement of the collection of data in order to test hypotheses or to answer questions concerning the current status of the subjects of the study. The researchers use this kind of research design to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study. Under the Descriptive Research Method, the technique use is the Survey Method, which is otherwise known as normative survey. With the use of the survey questionnaire and published literatures, this study took on the combined quantitative and qualitative approach of research. By means of employing this combined approach, the researchers will be able to obtain the advantages of both quantitative and qualitative approaches and overcome their limitations.

The Descriptive survey method of research with the use of structured and open-ended questionnaire was used to determine factors that may affect knowledge, attitude and practice regarding food labels and the interaction between these factors.

The descriptive method help the researchers interpret data and formulate generalization and is the most appropriate method to easily explain the facts. Descriptive method is use because it is a valid method for researching specific subjects and as a precursor to more quantitative studies. While there are some valid concerns about the statistical validity, as long as the limitations are understood by the researcher.


Simple random sampling will perform for the sample selection. This sampling method is conducted where each member of a population has an equal opportunity to become part of the sample. As all members of the population have an equal chance of becoming a research participant, this is said to be the most efficient sampling procedure.
In order to conduct this sampling strategy, the researchers will identify first who are the consumers that buy Nissin Cup Noodles with “Sangkap Pinoy” seal.


The respondents would be the Call Center Agents in Makati City. Since Makati City is a busy business district, most of the employees who work here are always in a rush so they suit best for the study.

Respondents were selected from private offices. These offices were selected because their represent typical consumers from Makati City with varied demographic backgrounds. The original plan was to classify the employees of each office according to positions in order to have a better representative sample. These positions are 1) top, ex. Managers, unit/department heads, chief, assistant chief and supervisors. 2) Middle, ex. Accountants, cashiers secretaries and 3) low, ex. Maintenance personnel, drivers, janitors, messengers. A total of 300 employees from the companies will serve as the respondents during their break time at their office hours of 8am – 5pm.


The researchers will use questionnaire in gathering data’s from the respondents. The primary sources of data are the 300 respondents from the Call Center companies in Makati City covering the main target place for the survey. The researcher prepared a questionnaire so as to guide the respondents in giving their answer to the researchers. The questionnaire is composed of 2 parts, the profile of the respondents and the core data questions.


A letter of approval was secured from each respective head of the identified office before conducting the survey. The researcher and one research assistant distributed the questionnaire forms to each identified respondent and those were retrieved as soon as it was accomplished. In some instances, where employees were not able to finish the questionnaire on the same day, the researcher had to come the following day.
For employees from the private offices, the survey was conducted during break time at 10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. For the private office employees it was conducted during lunch break at 11:30 – 12:30 noon only.


To describe the characteristics of the respondents, the researchers will use Descriptive Statistics namely Mean, Frequency Distribution, Percentage, Standard Deviation. Also the researchers will use Likert Scale and Chi – Square for hypotheses testing. To enable the researchers to present and summarize the data in accordance with the objectives set in the study, the following statistical treatments were explained as: The Frequency Count and Percentage were use to categorize the respondents according to their demographic profile (age, gender, school year graduated, course attained) and other factors affecting their employment. The mean will be used to determine the average in which each quantity to be averaged is assigned a weight. These weightings determine the relative importance of each quantity on the average. It involves the assignment of different levels of importance or weights to various components of a given data that are used to arrive at conclusion. Standard Deviation will show the relation that set of scores has to the mean of the sample. Likert scale will be used to benefit researchers that questions used are easy to understand and so lead to consistent answers.


Where: Oi = observed frequency Ei = Expected Frequency

• Healthiness


Understanding •

Nutritional Knowledge




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