Assessing authorized labeling as a marketing tool: an empirical study of Japan

Hirogaki, Mitsunori
January 2012
International Proceedings of Economics Development & Research;2012, Vol. 29, p73
Academic Journal
In this study, we attempt to analyze consumer perceptions and responses toward authorized health claim labeling (Food for Specified Health Use, FOSHU, labeling) in Japan. Since the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) established the FOSHU system, a government-approved health claim regulation system, FOSHU labeling has played a crucial role in decreasing asymmetric information on the value of credence attributes and preventing potential market failure by communicating accurate information to consumers. Therefore, FOSHU labeling is considered to be a successful tool for product differentiation. However, a few empirical studies analyzed consumer confidence in health claim regulation and its marketing effects on consumers' buying behavior. In this paper, we used data from 945 consumer responses to nonsugar FOSHU drinks and found that confidence in health claim regulation systems had a significant impact on shaping consumer choices for FOSHU foods. Willingness to pay a price premium for functional food and demographic factors were also important in determining the consumers' choice of food products. The results provide a basis for understanding the effects of using FOSHU labels as marketing tools and health claim regulation systems in Japan on food products. Moreover, we discussed the policy implications of these results.


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