Dissertations - Food Business & Technology

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    Evaluation of public policy interventions in the food retail environment on diet and health
    (2023-08) Scott, Laura
    Across the world countries have introduced a variety of public health policies to improve diet and nutrition among their populations. This study aims to understand best practices in public policy interventions and the impact they have had on diet and health within the food retail environment. The following study identifies public health and nutrition policies across European countries which have proven to be most impactful. It identifies any advancements that have been suggested in literature for future policy makers to consider. This study focuses on policy which impacts the food retail environment explored through the marketing 4 P’s. Food retail provides insight into consumers nutritional purchasing behaviours and is an extremely influential environment. This study will focus on nutritional policies which impact purchasing decisions in food retail stores. The nutritional policies discussed were classified using the marketing “4P’s” approach Price (taxes and subsidies), Product (reformulation and food labelling), Place (food retail) and Promotion (food retail advertising). Price: The results are mostly positive while introduced differently, some countries tax sugar other countries tax salt. Usually, these taxes impact industry more and manufacturers absorb most of the cost or reformulate their products. Most subsidies target children through schools not instore. The WHO have suggested new subsidies concepts which could increase consumption of fruit and vegetables. Research has suggested a red meat tax could positively impact diet and health. Product: Product reformulation is widely suggested as a successful measure which will help reduce obesity. Research has shown a modest impact as voluntary reformulation is most common and often hinders real results. Food labelling, information and nutritional guidelines are extremely common but with meek results. Countries across North and South America have seen best results with warning labels on food and drink products. Place: Retailers control the space in which food is sold and often use tactics to entice the sale of one product over another. Studies have shown that when space is prioritised for healthier food products instore consumption increases. Utilising various ‘nudging’ tactics may encourage the sale of healthier foods. Promotion: Several steps have been taken to protect children across traditional media but regulations for social media are lacking. Research highlights the urgent need for an improvement on mandatory policies. Some in store measures have been taken by some retailers to protect children against enticing product packaging. Research suggests nutrient profiling as possible solution to regulate advertising. All the “4 P’s” have a varying degree of influence on the food retail environment and consumer purchasing decisions. Overall public policy was found to be most effective when mandatory guidelines and targets were set. Fiscal policies were more effective than informative strategies but met with the most opposition from industry. Education is a key interlinking factor to policy success. Most European countries are engaged in implementing policies to improve diet and health. However, some countries including Ireland have fallen short in implementing effective policies across all the 4 P’s. Currently, much work needs to be done to implement powerful public policy to improve diet and health to reduce obesity. This study has found that change happens when several mandatory policies are introduced which dictate food retailers’ behaviour. The food retail environment plays a key role in consumers purchasing decisions and provides a key backdrop to educate consumers and bring about real change.
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    The Challenges in the food industry with the ban of Titanium Dioxide in 2022
    (2023) Hortaleza, Garbrielle
    The ongoing human health studies concerning the use of Titanium Dioxide in the food industry has been explored in many literature studies. The European Commission have recently declared a full ban of Titanium Dioxide (E171) as a food and feed additive in the European Union with the six month phasing out period from 07 February 2022 until 07 August 2022 effectively. Following this ban, there is a huge demand for alternatives within the food industry sector and also challenges that comes with this change. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the health implications that TiO₂ has brought about this ban, exploring the alternatives that the food companies have innovated in order to tackle this challenge. The key findings were that there are many in invo and in vitro studies concerning human ingestion and inhalation however no real human studies completed. The Food industry is continuously innovating on their own portfolio to create a close match to the appearance whitening effect of TiO₂. In conclusion, there has been a huge progress and response of the companies due to this change, however there is a need to explore further alternatives in the future.
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    An Evaluation of the Current Strategies Employed in Reducing the Sugar Content of Cakes
    (2023) Dowling, Niamh
    Prevalence of non-communicable diseases is increasing globally. With incidence of overweight and obesity continuing to increase in Ireland, the government has launched a voluntary food reformulation framework to encourage the food industry to take responsibility for the nutritional status of the food supply. The Department of Health aims to achieve a 20% reduction in sugar in cakes by 2025, however it is recognised that sugar plays an important role in the physical and sensory attributes of cakes. Results from studies analysed in this thesis strongly demonstrate that food additives and sourdough technologies may help replace the functionalities of sugar, in sugar-reduced cakes. Results from the nutritional analysis of 234 cakes in Ireland, show that cakes still contain large amounts of sugar per 100g. Results also show that manufacturers are not using nutrition claims, which may help their product stand out from competitors. Further work is needed to assess the overall cost and efficiencies of using food additives and sourdough to reduce the sugar content of cakes.
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    Importance of Nutritional Food Labelling on packaged food items and consumers understanding in Ireland
    (2023) Staunton, Sarah
    Ireland is set to become the most obese country In Europe by 2030 due to the increase in unhealthy eating habits amongst the population. Globally, the consumption of processed and convenient foods has increased over the generations and this has led to an increase in diet related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. The implementation of the Nutritional Labelling Law in 2011, has had a positive effect on consumers food choices and purchasing behaviours. Nutrition food labels is an effective tool to make consumers aware of the nutrition content of pre-packed food products. Nutrition food labels provide the information to allow the consumer to make an informed decision about the food product before purchasing. This study aims to show the importance of nutritional food labelling and determine consumers understanding and perception of nutritional food labels in Ireland before purchasing pre-packed food products. A Quantitative methodology using an online survey was used to collect primary data in this study. A total of 103 participant responses were received within 3 weeks. Secondary data was collected from journals, articles, books and websites. 79% of consumers in Ireland reported to read nutrition food labels before purchasing food products. However, only 47.8% of consumers understand the nutrition information on pre-packed food products. Consumers find front-of-pack food labels easier to understand compared to back-of-pack food labels. Consumers that read nutrition food labels prefer to buy food products with nutrition claims such ad low-fat and high-fibre. Consumers are becoming more health conscious about their food choices and want to improve their health especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Demographics such as age, gender, education level and income status influence consumers purchasing behaviours. More research is required in this area as people read and use nutrition food labels to make informed decisions about food products before purchasing however obesity levels remain high in Ireland. The Government need to step in and implement new strategies to educate people about nutrition food labels and increase consumers understanding as people want to improve their overall health. Nutrition food labels is the only form of communication between the food manufacturer and the consumer. Therefore, the manufacturer has iv a responsibility to make nutrition food labels displayed on their food products informative but simple for the consumer to understand. It is important that the information on the nutrition food labels is catered to all consumers so they can make an informed decision about the food product before purchasing and make long-term healthier decisions.
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    The Challenges and Benefits of Replacing Salt with Yeast Extract in a Selected Butter and Bread Based Product
    (2023) Troika, Erisa
    As living standards in countries have improved, there is a higher demand for healthy, nutritious food. Health and well-being are the concerns in today’s world, health issues that the world is facing are making us concerned about what we eat. Salt is a cheap way of adding flavour to food and making it taste better. The recommended daily intake of salt should be around a teaspoon full but the reality is that the average person is consuming up to double that figure. The main concern in the world today is that excessive consumption of salt can lead to health issues such as an increase in blood pressure and a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Food manufacturers are looking for new alternatives to reduce or replace salt in products. Those alternatives will be challenging for food businesses as salt enhances the quality and taste of their product and in most cases, it is a cheaper additive than using another alternative. Food manufacturers also face complications, as the consumer will expect product with reduced salt or with a salt alternative to have the same appearance and flavour as the original version of the product but be healthier because of the reduced salt or salt replacement. One of the alternatives for salt is yeast extract. Yeast extract is a natural product that can be easily produced and could be used as an alternative to salt. It has a taste similar to salt, but it is a healthier alternative. This study shows how salt is being replaced by yeast extract and the product keeps the same characteristics. Yeast extract gives food the same properties as salt and keeps the same shelf life to the product.