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Are nutritional claims an adequate tool for public health? Evidence from food purchases in France


  • Caillavet, France
  • Nichele, Veronique
  • Soler, Louis-Georges


Nutritional claims have become a major instrument for providing consumers with information at the point of purchase, enabling them to make nutritionally appropriate choices. This paper deals with two public policy issues linked to the implementation of nutritional claims, i.e. efficiency and equity, in terms of nutritional outcomes and in terms of population targeting. We consider the French breakfast foods market at the household level using 2004 TNS Worldpanel data. We estimate a demand system taking into account the selection issue. For this we use the Shonkwiler and Yen’s procedure which, unlike Heckman’s, allows participation on every market of products to be controlled for. We propose a modification of this approach to address the methodological issue of satisfying the additivity constraint. This procedure is estimated on a set of dairy and cereal-based products which have different health attributes. Our results show that products with health claims play the role they are expected for. The light variants of dairy foods considered here appear to target households with members at health risk, obese or overweight. But interactions between products suggest some limits to efficiency on nutritional grounds. A higher probability of purchasing light products and with higher quantities coincides with higher purchases of biscuits and dairy desserts. Moreover, since lower income discourage the use of products with health claims, equity is not obtained and this should be stressed for policy implications.

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  • Caillavet, France & Nichele, Veronique & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2008. "Are nutritional claims an adequate tool for public health? Evidence from food purchases in France," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44007, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:44007

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    1. J. Scott Shonkwiler & Steven T. Yen, 1999. "Two-Step Estimation of a Censored System of Equations," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 972-982.
    2. Heien, Dale & Wessells, Cathy Roheim, 1990. "Demand Systems Estimation with Microdata: A Censored Regression Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 365-371, July.
    3. Harald Tauchmann, 2005. "Efficiency of two-step estimators for censored systems of equations: Shonkwiler and Yen reconsidered," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(4), pages 367-374.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Diansheng Dong & Brian W. Gould & Harry M. Kaiser, 2004. "Food Demand in Mexico: An Application of the Amemiya-Tobin Approach to the Estimation of a Censored Food System," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1094-1107.
    6. Steven Yen & Kamhon Kan & Shew-Jiuan Su, 2002. "Household demand for fats and oils: two-step estimation of a censored demand system," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(14), pages 1799-1806.
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    Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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