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Keywords:

  • evaluation;
  • Heartbeat Award scheme;
  • nutrition education;
  • point-of-choice labelling schemes

Background: Nutrition labelling schemes at the point-of-choice allow opportunity for behaviour change by modifying the environment. In the workplace they provide a particularly good opportunity to expose employees repeatedly to healthier food choices. The Heartbeat Award scheme (HBA) is an example of such a scheme and was launched in England in 1990 by the Health Education Authority. Method: Twenty point-of-choice labelling schemes are reviewed in the workplace, public eating places and universities. We outline the characteristics of effective programmes, and suggest how the HBA scheme could be developed to maximize its impact. Results: Nutrition labelling schemes may be most effective when they are adapted for the target audience and use simple messages, especially if the messages promote both healthiness and taste. Even though schemes may not have an immediate effect on food choice, they may act together with other factors to enhance customer self-efficacy, thereby increasing the likelihood of positive food choices being made. Conclusion: Most of the studies reviewed demonstrate some positive short-term benefits from schemes. We are unable to conclude that these result in long-term behaviour changes, because of a lack of follow-up studies.