Using the Keyhole Label on Food Packaging to Increase the Consumption of Healthy Food: A study on consumer behavior in relation to the keyhole label and whether this label helps consumers make healthier food choices

Fine Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The motivation for this thesis is the increased prevalence of obesity in Denmark - over the past 20 years the prevalence of obese people has increased with 75%. The keyhole label is an initiative by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, with the purpose of helping Danes make healthy food choices. This thesis focuses on consumer behavior and decision making in relation to the keyhole label. The keyhole label is a Nordic nutrition label, though this thesis will focus on the Danish market. The aim of the thesis is to investigate the knowledge consumers have of the keyhole label and whether or not the keyhole label affects consumers behavior and decision making while food shopping. Several studies have been carried out by the Veterinary and Food Administration, who are behind the keyhole label, showing that awareness levels for the keyhole label are high. Further studies focusing on consumers’ knowledge of and opinions about the keyhole label are still needed. By analyzing consumer behavior in relation to the keyhole label, I wished to shed some light on whether consumers, who are aware of the keyhole label, actively use this label in their decision making, to identify healthier foods in a given category, as the label is intended for. This was done by carrying out quantitative research in terms of a survey, using an online questionnaire, combined with qualitative research using netnography and focus groups, and a single in-depth interview. This research indicates that although consumer awareness of the keyhole label is high, with 9 in 10 consumers having awareness of the keyhole label, only 2 in 10 consumers use this label when food shopping. This may be explained by consumers’ lack of knowledge about the keyhole label – 3 in 10 consumers can name at least one of the 4 attributes the keyhole label represents: less fat, sugar and salt and more dietary fibers. This is a general issue with food labels – several studies have shown that a large part of consumers can understand and interpret food labels correctly, but still don’t use these when food shopping. For the keyhole label, this can be due to a lack of knowledge of what the label represents, though it can also be explained by a lack of motivation and interest in healthy eating.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages198