Consumers’ responses to front-of-pack labels that vary by interpretive content
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Previous research has shown that front-of-pack labels (FoPLs) can assist people to make healthier food choices if they are easy to understand and people are motivated to use them. There is some evidence that FoPLs providing an assessment of a food’s health value (evaluative FoPLs) are easier to use than those providing only numerical information on nutrients (reductive FoPLs). Recently, a new evaluative FoPL (the Health Star Rating (HSR)) has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. The HSR features a summary indicator, differentiating it from many other FoPLs being used around the world. The aim of this study was to understand how consumers of all ages use and make sense of reductive FoPLs and evaluative FoPLs including evaluative FoPLs with and without summary indicators. Ten focus groups were conducted in Perth, Western Australia with adults (n=50) and children aged 10-17 years (n=35) to explore reactions to one reductive FoPL (the Daily Intake Guide), an existing evaluative FoPL (multiple traffic lights), and a new evaluative FoPL (the HSR). Participants preferred the evaluative FoPLs over the reductive FoPL, with the strongest preference being for the FoPL with the summary indicator (HSR). Discussions revealed the cognitive strategies used when interpreting each FoPL (e.g., using cut offs, heuristics, and the process of elimination), which differed according to FoPL format. Most participants reported being motivated to use the evaluative FoPLs (particularly the HSR) to make choices about foods consumed as part of regular daily meals, but not for discretionary foods consumed as snacks or deserts. The findings provide further evidence of the potential utility of evaluative FoPLs in supporting healthy food choices and can assist policy makers in selecting between alternative FoPL formats.
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Pettigrew, Simone; Talati, Zenobia; Miller, C.; Dixon, H.; Kelly, B.; Ball, K. (2016)There is strong interest in front-of-pack labels (FoPLs) as a potential mechanism for improving diets, and therefore health, at the population level. The present study examined Australian consumers' preferences for different ...
The relative ability of different front-of-pack labels to assist consumers discriminate between healthy, moderately healthy, and unhealthy foodsTalati, Zenobia; Pettigrew, Simone; Ball, K.; Hughes, C.; Kelly, B.; Neal, B.; Dixon, H. (2017)The degree to which different front-of-pack labels (FoPLs) can assist consumers to make healthy choices seems to depend on the extent to which the FoPLs provide an interpretation of the nutrition information presented. ...
The combined effect of front-of-pack nutrition labels and health claims on consumers’ evaluation of food productsTalati, Zenobia; Pettigrew, Simone; Hughes, C.; Dixon, H.; Kelly, B.; Ball, K.; Miller, C. (2016)The majority of studies examining the effect of nutrition information on food packets (such as the nutrition information panel (NIP), front-of-pack labels (FoPLs) and health claims) have examined each in isolation, even ...