Health-claimed Foods and the Myth of Smart Consumers in Thai Society

Siriporn Phakdeephasuk


Department of Thai, Chulalongkorn University



Nowadays, healthy consumption of foods is a trend in Thai society. A variety of health-claimed products have been introduced to the market. Together with these products, the adverts of these health-claimed foods have been circulated in various types of media, especially within health magazines. The content of these ads covers a wide range of products. Attempting to increase the selling potential of the products, health-claimed ads do not simply provide information about the products, but they also construct myths of smart consumers in order to influence the consumption activities of consumers in the Thai society. 


This paper aims to analyze the health-claimed advertising discourse in Thai health magazines in order to uncover the relationship between language and the myth of smart consumers. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is used as an approach for unmasking the manipulation present within health-claimed ads. The findings reveal that the health-claimed ads attempt to promote the identity of health-concerned consumers as smart people who know how to choose wisely. Various strategies are used to create and represent this myth, for instance, the use of lexical choices, presupposition, rhetorical questions, and intertextuality. It is anticipated that this study will yield an understanding of the relationship between health food consumption and discourse in Thai society.



(Presented in the International Conference – Thai Food Heritage: Local to Global, 4-6 August 2009, Tawana Bangkok Hotel, Bangkok, organized by The Project of Empowering Network for International Thai Studies (ENITS), Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University with support from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF))