Review of Package Warning Labels and Their Effect on Consumer Behaviour with Insights to Future Anticounterfeit Strategy of Label and Communication Systems


J. Spink, Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Program, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.



This paper investigates and reviews literature regarding a range of topics important to the research question – the themes apply across all the topics. The topics include label and package warnings, including tamper-evident features, to review their effect on the consumer behaviour of changing usage or purchase decisions. This information was then applied to gain insight into anticounterfeit product/package efforts. Based on this research, it appears that there is value for brand marketers to enhance their anticounterfeit efforts and consumer confidence by utilizing warning labels and information labels on their labels or packages. Currently, consumer perception of a domestic counterfeit product threat (promoted as genuine products), even for pharmaceuticals by healthcare professionals, although increasing has still been very low. Generally, the consumers believe and expect that the product purchased from retailers is safe and genuine. The study reviewed many key warning and label communication areas: consumer behaviour review, technical specifications, anticounterfeit, tamper evidence/tamper resistance, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, cigarette, nutrition food and nutrition supplements. To complete the insight on communicating with the consumer, a review of label legibility was included. Before brand marketers consider adding anticounterfeit warning labels, extensive consumer behaviour research should be conducted in areas such as fear appeals and involuntary risk outrage. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.