The Effects of Health Claims and Symbolic Mark: A Case of Foshu (Food for Specified Health Uses) in Japan

Makoto Ono, Akinori Ono

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Informative messages on product packages—especially on packages of food products—should be credible. Otherwise, the firm might experience a serious fall in brand equity. However, because nutrition intake and health promotion are “credence attributes”, it is difficult for consumers to evaluate them. Moreover, if nutrition message or health claims were false or puffery, consumers might suffer a serious health damage. Regarding the problem mentioned above, in 1991, Japanese Government took the initiative in the world by introducing the FoSHU (Foods for Specified Health Uses) system—a license system in which the government tries to control all health claims on packages of food products launched in the country. It should be noted that there are two factors which can be appeared on packages only with the permission of Japanese Government. One is health claims, of course, and the other is the “FoSHU seal”—a symbolic mark designed for FoSHU foods. Interestingly, these two licensed factors may have different effects on perceived product value in health. In this research, we conducted two studies to examine the difference of the effects on product value in health. The results of ANOVA with a consumer dataset showed that consumer evaluations of FoSHU food brands are not affected by health claims. It is because health claims have external effects on evaluations of alternative food brands in the same category. On the other hand, unlike health claims, the FoSHU seal has a strong signaling effect on evaluations of the particular food brands. It is because that FoSHU food brands can be successfully differentiated from non-FoSHU food brands in the same category. However, at the same time, introduction of a FoSHU product also significantly improve consumer evaluations of alternative brands. It means the FoSHU seal also has an external effect.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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