Consumer Preferences for Detailed versus Summary Formats of Nutrition Information on Grocery Store Shelf Labels
ABSTRACT The health-related problems caused by poor diet choices has elevated the policy importance of how to communicate nutrition information more effectively to consumers at the point of purchase. At the same time, food retailers want to provide their customers with nutrition information in the format their shoppers prefer. The shopping environment, which includes the provision of nutrition information, is a way that food retailers can differentiate themselves from the competition. In this article, we present a simple model of the demand for nutrition information and empirically evaluate consumer preferences for two different formats. We compare nutrition information on grocery store shelf labels in the Greater San Francisco Area presented in detailed and summary formats. The detailed nutrition information provides an explicit description of specific nutrients but may be more costly to process and difficult to understand. Summary nutrition information reduces processing effort but provides a condensed description of nutritional content. The results indicate that there are higher mean preferences for detailed nutrition labels but also a greater dispersion of preferences. Nutrition-conscious consumers are more likely to prefer detailed information. The summary format may benefit shoppers who are less likely to use other forms of information.