Currently submitted to: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Submitted: Oct 11, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 11, 2019 - Nov 14, 2019
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Consumers’ acceptance of an online tool with personalized health risk-benefit communication about seafood consumption
Seafood is widely recognized as an important component of a healthy diet. As we gain more knowledge on contaminants in seafood, concerns are being raised over the risks associated and there is a communication dilemma concerning the nutritional-toxicological conflict. Although health benefits outweigh the risks for the general population, there is a need for caution concerning more vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children. In order to tailor messages based on consumers’ profile and consumption pattern, online tools grant new opportunities, as consumers are increasingly using the internet to obtain health and nutrition information. The interactive FishChoice tool was developed within the ECsafeSEAFOOD FP7 project and aims to inform consumers on the health benefits and risks linked to their weekly dietary pattern regarding seafood.
The objective of the study is to assess the acceptance of the FishChoice tool.
An online survey was undertaken in five European countries, namely Belgium, Norway, Spain, Portugal and Ireland (n=703; 25 to 65 years). The used conceptual framework is a modified Technology Acceptance Model introduced for measuring the acceptance of websites.
The majority of consumers agreed that the tool is useful and easy to use. About two thirds of consumers who assessed the tool agreed they would use the information when choosing seafood species, portion size or frequency of consumption. Heavy seafood consumers also have higher intentions to use the tool.
This study provides preliminary evidence that for risk-benefit communication about seafood, online tailored tools such as FishChoice are evaluated as user-friendly and useful for a broad group of seafood consumers. Similar tools can be used in situations where no general recommendations can be made and risk communication should be targeted. Further research should determine the long term impact of these communication messages and tools on consumers’ behavior, especially on vulnerable groups.
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