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Policy makers’ paradigms and evidence from consumer interpretations of dietary supplement labels


  • Karen Russo France,

  • Paula Fitzgerald Bone

  • Karen Russo France is an associate Professor in the Department of Marketing at West Virginia University (

  • The authors would like to thank Dennis Murphy for his helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


The regulation of marketplace information regarding health and nutrition is in flux. Nowhere, perhaps, is this more evident than in the dietary supplement industry. Herein, we present an experiment that examines the two major types of claims used for dietary supplements, testing the underlying assumptions made by policy makers. Our study suggests that a direct-effects consumer decision-making model does not apply in this context; instead, consumers process label claims through various biasing filters.