The science on front-of-package food labels

1The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2300 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 03/2012; 16(3):1-10. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980012000754
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: The US Food and Drug Administration and Institute of Medicine are currently investigating front-of-package (FOP) food labelling systems to provide science-based guidance to the food industry. The present paper reviews the literature on FOP labelling and supermarket shelf-labelling systems published or under review by February 2011 to inform current investigations and identify areas of future research. DESIGN: A structured search was undertaken of research studies on consumer use, understanding of, preference for, perception of and behaviours relating to FOP/shelf labelling published between January 2004 and February 2011. RESULTS: Twenty-eight studies from a structured search met inclusion criteria. Reviewed studies examined consumer preferences, understanding and use of different labelling systems as well as label impact on purchasing patterns and industry product reformulation. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that the Multiple Traffic Light system has most consistently helped consumers identify healthier products; however, additional research on different labelling systems' abilities to influence consumer behaviour is needed.


Available from: Peggy J Liu, Apr 04, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Earlier research has identified consumer characteristics associated with viewing Nutrition Facts labels; however, little is known about those who view front-of-package nutrition labels. Front-of-package nutrition labels might appeal to more consumers than do Nutrition Facts labels, but it might be necessary to provide consumers with information about how to locate and use these labels. This study quantifies Nutrition Facts and front-of-package nutrition label viewing among American adult consumers. Attention to nutrition information was measured during a food-selection task. One hundred and twenty-three parents (mean age=38 years, mean body mass index [calculated as kg/m(2)]=28) and one of their children (aged 6 to 9 years) selected six foods from a university laboratory-turned-grocery aisle. Participants were randomized to conditions in which front-of-package nutrition labels were present or absent, and signage explaining front-of-package nutrition labels was present or absent. Adults' visual attention to Nutrition Facts labels and front-of-package nutrition labels was objectively measured via eye-tracking glasses. To examine whether there were significant differences in the percentages of participants who viewed Nutrition Facts labels vs front-of-package nutrition labels, McNemar's tests were conducted across all participants, as well as within various sociodemographic categories. To determine whether hypothesized factors, such as health literacy and education, had stronger relationships with front-of-package nutrition label vs Nutrition Facts label viewing, linear regression assessed the magnitude of relationships between theoretically and empirically derived factors and each type of label viewing. Overall, front-of-package nutrition labels were more likely to be viewed than Nutrition Facts labels; however, for all subgroups, higher rates of front-of-package nutrition label viewership occurred only when signage was present drawing attention to the presence and meaning of front-of-package nutrition labels. Consumers should receive education about the availability and use of new nutrition labels. Copyright © 2015 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.019 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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