IM Public Lecture Series: “Choosing Food: Exploring Consumers’ Use of Ingredient Information”

Presented by Mark McCumber (New Brunswick Public Library Services)

*embedded in the class INFO 6750: Health Sciences Literature and Information Sources

Food labelling is designed to help consumers make better food choices. Understanding how this information is used becomes increasingly important as relationships between diet and diseases are recognized. Research on food label use has left the list of ingredients under-explored, despite its identification as an important component of the food label. As an internal cognitive process, information use during food choices is difficult to measure without influencing behaviour. This lecture will present the results of mixed-methods research designed to gain insight into cognitive and behavioural aspects of food choices. A survey measured self-reported nutrition behaviours of 518 university students. A screening tool identified surveyed volunteers likely to use ingredient information, 11 of which completed a simulated shopping task that produced rich qualitative data relating to food label information use. A theoretical approach to thematic analysis revealed that participants focused on avoidance of negatives when making food choices, employing various strategies to accomplish this goal.

Mark McCumber graduated from the MLIS program at Dalhousie in 2015. For a devoted vegetarian and conscious consumer who is eternally suspicious of our food production industries, it was the natural choice to incorporate some aspect of food security into his pursuit of the MLIS. Having become intrigued by the study of information seeking behaviour, he determined to combine this field with his natural interests, designing a study intended to explore how people use food label information when making food choices. Mark currently works for New Brunswick Public Library Services as the Public Services Librarian for the York Region. Residing in Fredericton, New Brunswick, he still reads every food label of products that he’s considering purchasing, as well as many that he is not, and is somewhat dissatisfied that he can only wear denim on Fridays and weekends.

Lecture Details
Thursday, February 25th, 2016 from 5:35-6:35pm
Room 3001, Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building, 6100 University Avenue