Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Tourism & Hospitality

First Advisor

Ms. Ann O'Connor

Second Advisor

Dr. Margaret Linehan


Ireland has experienced much economic and social change in recent years, and as a result of this, many new food choices and commodities are on offer to the consumer. The simple diet of fresh, unprocessed foods that existed in Ireland in the past has for many consumers been replaced by processed, convenience food products. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects which the marketing, advertising and labelling of processed food in Ireland has on consumers, and how these strategies influence their choice of food. The advertising claims and the labelling of these processed foods is of interest in this research as consumers are challenged to understand, and interpret exactly, what is contained in processed food products.

A qualitative approach in this study provided the opportunity to gain insights into consumers’ experiences and perceptions relating to food choices. Parents of two or more children were interviewed, to determine the impact which advertising of food products has on their children. The research findings suggest that consumers read labels on food products but may not necessarily be proficient at relating this information to specific nutrient guideline amounts. This study enhances the understanding of eating habits, confirming that food choice is determined by a highly complex set of interactions, and finding that cost is a major factor affecting food choice. This study provides persuasive evidence that parents believe that children are highly influenced by the advertising and marketing of food products from a young age. The findings in this study confirm that parents overwhelmingly support the regulation of advertising to children. This study further reveals that the majority of consumers support the display of calorie information, as a form of labelling, on menus to assist them in making healthier food choices. In summary, consumers want to have information on food products available to them whether or not they choose to use it.

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