Food labels play an important role in providing insights into ‘invisible’ attributes of food products, attributes that consumers cannot ascertain themselves upon purchase or consumption whilst these aspects are of interest to them. Labels can be used as policy instruments to regulate the presentation of such product specific information, which for example can be related to the nutritional content or health benefit of a food or food ingredient. To ensure that there is no false or ambiguous information on food labels, food information is regulated in Europe and specific regulation is in place to deal with nutrition and health claims made on foods: statements that highlight the beneficial ingredients in a product, or even the potential health benefits that can follow from consuming these ingredients. Today, most claims seem to be used on processed functional foods: foods that are deliberately processed to increase or decrease specific ingredients to ensure they offer increased health benefits compared to their ‘regular’ counterparts.
Within this PhD project, the candidate will conduct research into to what extent food information and specifically nutrition & health claims can be used on fresh produce. This conceptual and empirical research should contribute to increased insights into the potential for practical measurement values for food information provision. It should result in scientific publications and the development of a decision tool for small and medium sized entrepreneurs.
To complete our team, we are looking for a PhD candidate who has a strong background in nutrition and/or (health) policy, preferably with experience in conducting qualitative research. Your tasks include to collect data, conduct research (predominantly through desk research and applying qualitative research procedures), to write scientific articles, and to complete a PhD thesis. You will actively participate in the EU funded Interreg project Food Screening EMR. You will also participate in conferences, workshops and other scholarly and valorization activities, and contribute to teaching at Maastricht University Campus Venlo.
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