Article

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.

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