SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information

In recent years, there has been considerable attention surrounding the topic of front-of-package (FOP) nutrition information disclosures. FOP nutrition disclosures are typically used to provide nutrient information that may help consumers more easily determine if a particular food is a healthy option. The current research compares four different types of FOP formats to assess consumer response. Results from two studies suggest that all FOP disclosure formats tested produce significantly more positive consumer responses than packages without any FOP nutrition information at all. Study 1 finds that levels of consumer nutrition knowledge moderate the FOP-ease of use relationship, while Study 2 reveals that an educational prime also moderates this same relationship. Additional exploratory thought analysis indicates that packages with FOP disclosures generally produce more nutrition-related thoughts than packages without any FOP nutrition information. Our results offer implications for both industry and government regulation, and generate several fruitful areas for future research.

The provision of nutrition information is one of the basic functions of food packaging and has been an issue of great interest to the academic community, government, food manufacturers, and food retailers for decades.1 Some nutrition information on food packages has been regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1990s (e.g., Nutrition Facts Panel, NFP) while other information is self-regulated by grocery manufacturers (e.g., nutrition information on the front of packages). Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion, debate, and research in particular around the topic of front-of-package (FOP) nutrition information disclosures (Health and Human Services 2011). Whether regulated by the government or self-regulated by the industry, the primary goal of FOP nutrition information disclosure is to help consumers more easily determine if a particular food item is a healthy choice and to facilitate food comparisons within and across categories. Hence, the provision of FOP nutrition information has the potential to increase consumer awareness, understanding, and usage of nutrition information, assisting consumers in making better food choices for themselves and their families. These better decisions can, in turn, help prevent or reduce diet-related illnesses and diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and strokes). As such, FOP nutrition information disclosures have considerable potential for protecting and guiding consumers in their decision-making processes.

There is debate as to whether nutrition information on the front of food packages should be mandated and regulated by the government, or whether the disclosure of this information should be self-regulated by the industry. To better understand this issue, it is important to distinguish between health claims made by the manufacturer (e.g., heart healthy or reduced calories) and nutrition disclosures which communicate objective levels of specific nutrients contained in foods. Food and supplement health claims have been regulated by the FDA for decades, and back-of-package nutrition disclosures (i.e., NFP) have been required since the early 1990s.2 (For a discussion on disclosures, disclaimers, and claims, see Kozup et al. 2012.) Some advocates feel that FOP nutrition information disclosures should also be both standardized and mandatory to avoid potential misperceptions or confusion by consumers (Lytton 2010).

While there is general agreement that FOP nutrition information can be beneficial from a consumer health perspective, there is conflicting research about the ideal method of presenting FOP nutrition information and which approach may be most useful to consumers. In an extensive Institute of Medicine report (supported by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the US Department of Agriculture), an expert committee concluded that no single FOP nutrition information system is superior overall to all others and that each system has strengths and weaknesses (IOM 2010). This report also noted that while some research has found that particular types of FOP nutrition information programs perform best in specific situations or with a particular sample of consumers, there is a lack of a consistent positive effect of FOP nutrition information on consumer decision making.

Although large, aggregate population health effects may not be observed from nutrition disclosure alone (Burton and Kees 2012), it seems that FOP nutrition information can be beneficial to some consumer segments under some circumstances. This suggests that in addition to evaluating the effectiveness of different FOP disclosure approaches, it is critical to consider moderating variables that may influence the attention to and use of FOP nutrition information. Understanding these influences has the potential to contribute to the development of new industry policies and self-regulation that may have a significant impact on how consumers make food choices for their families.

Hence, the purpose of this paper is to assess the relative influence of four different types of FOP information disclosures on important consumer response dependent variables. More specifically, two different versions of the Facts Up Front (FUF) nutrient-based labeling system and two different versions of the Traffic Light system were tested. To examine the boundary conditions for the effects of FOP information disclosures on consumer responses, we assess the moderating effects of objective nutrition knowledge (Study 1) and an education prime (Study 2).

FOP Nutrition Information Disclosures

Most published research on FOP nutrition information examines consumer reactions across a variety of common variables such as attention, processing, preference, understanding, use, and influence on purchases. Overall, this literature provides evidence that condensed nutrition information on the front of food packages can help facilitate better consumer awareness and understanding of the nutritional contents of packaged foods. While most research supports the basic premise that some form of simplified or summarized FOP nutrition information can be useful, it is unclear which specific information or format works best (Rotfeld 2009).

Research also suggests that more nutrition information is not necessarily better, and that an important feature of any FOP nutrition information system is that it is relatively simple and easy to use (Teisl, Bockstael, and Levy 1997). Simplicity of such information is important because consumers place a great value on quick decision-making when shopping for food (Inman and Winer 1998; Park, Iyer, and Smith 1989). Indeed, time constraints and consumer desire for quick decisions during a shopping trip can adversely impact consumers' ability to utilize on-package nutrition information (Berning et al. 2010). One popular approach to the simplified front of package presentation of nutrition information is through the presentation of daily values (or guideline daily values). Some research has found that the presentation of select nutrient levels based on recommended daily values can result in positive consumer benefits (IFICF 2011; Levy, Fein, and Schucker 1996). Other research suggests that FOP nutrition information may truncate information search, with fewer consumers utilizing the back of package NFP when FOP nutrition information is present (Roe, Levy, and Derby 1999).

Two simplified systems of presenting FOP nutrition information include FUF and Traffic Lights (TL). The FUF initiative is a voluntary program aligned with the US Department of Agriculture and the US FDA, and it is one of several new anti-obesity programs from the grocery industry designed to help consumers make healthy decisions. FUF presents nutritional information on the front of the package through a set of icons that displays calories, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar per serving (Facts Up Front 2013). Food manufacturers can include an additional two icons displaying “nutrients to encourage” such as fiber, vitamins, calcium, and other healthy nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. The nutrients to encourage must meet the “good source” nutrient requirement of the FDA, which requires that the food contains at least 10 percent of the reference daily intake (RDI) for that particular nutrient.

The TL system is a nutrition labeling initiative introduced in 2007 by the UK Food Standards Agency and parallels the coloring system that permeates consumers' daily lives (i.e., green, yellow, red). Because the TL nutrition labeling is voluntary in various countries around the world, there is some variation in the format of the disclosure. The labels may differ in shape or size. Some may be accompanied by interpretive text (i.e., “low” or “high”) while others are presented with only the objective nutrient levels. The colors used in TL nutritional disclosures, however, are consistent and have universal meaning. A red light suggests the product is high in a particular nutrient that should be consumed in moderation (e.g., saturated fat or sodium), implying that the product should be consumed only occasionally and in smaller portions. A green light indicates the product is low in a nutrient and gives permission to “go” and consume the product on a regular basis. A yellow light suggests the product is somewhere in the middle and indicates caution in consumption.

Color-coded TL FOP nutrition information systems and other interpretive formats such as the inclusion of “high” and “low” corresponding to specific nutrients have been studied extensively. While the use of certain information such as colors and descriptive text may facilitate interpretation of nutrition information for some consumers under some circumstances (Andrews et al. 2011; Grunert and Wills 2007), this method is not without drawbacks. For instance, there is some concern that consumers will over-interpret the potential risk in consuming foods with a “red” traffic light, resulting in the misperception that these food items should be avoided altogether (Grunert et al. 2010). Some food products that are high in certain nutrients, such as fat, can actually be beneficial within the context of the whole diet (Hawkes 2004). Moreover, the TL approach will still likely result in some consumer confusion when food items are high in one nutrient but low in others (e.g., high in sugars but low in fat and sodium).

While a “daily values” format of providing FOP nutrition information can be effective, various alternatives have been studied. Often, these options are more simplified (present less information) or provide some sort of interpretive cues along with the daily values factual information, which may help consumers to better utilize the information (Bialkova and van Trijp 2010; Feunekes et al. 2008; Kelly et al. 2009; Kim and Kim 2009; Möser et al. 2010). Simple formats also seem to be especially beneficial for “at risk” groups (e.g., low literacy or low income consumers); using FOP symbols or icons to summarize complex nutrition information may be particularly helpful for these consumers (Kelly et al. 2009; Nayga, Lipinski, and Savur 1998). While many studies have examined the issue of “simple” vs. “detailed” nutrition disclosures (e.g., Andrews et al. 2011; Feunekes et al. 2008; IFICF 2011; National Australian Heart Foundation 2009), there seems to be merit to both approaches depending on the target market and outcome variables of interest.

Other research has shown that detailed formats like monochrome guideline daily amounts (GDA) were very well understood by consumers and performed just as strongly as traffic lights and interpretive text (National Australian Heart Foundation 2009; Synovate 2005). And some evidence exists that consumers prefer more detailed information such as GDA when choosing among a small number of products (Feunekes et al. 2008). Malam et al. (2009) suggest that the optimal FOP nutrition information may include a combination of GDA information, TL colors, and interpretive textual information.

Because of such conflicting results in the literature, the current research compares four different approaches to address the following research questions: (1) Are FOP nutrition disclosures a useful way to communicate nutrition information to consumers? (2) Does an interpretative format with colors perform better than a non-colored icon? and (3) Does a version with expanded nutrition information result in more positive consumer responses than a shorter version? At the same time, we recognize that individual characteristics may affect consumer response; hence we also examine potential boundary conditions for the proposed relationships. The effectiveness of any FOP nutrition information is dependent on a population of consumers who have a baseline understanding of health and nutrition. While making nutrition information more prominent (i.e., placing it on the front of the package) should enhance the influence of such information, objective nutrition knowledge is a key factor in a consumer's ability to process and utilize nutrition information (Andrews, Burton, and Netemeyer 2000; Moorman and Matulich 1993; Szykman, Bloom, and Levy 1997). As such, if consumers find FOP nutrition information difficult to understand (due to the complex or detailed nature of the information or a lack of nutrition knowledge), FOP nutrition information is not likely to play a significant role in purchase decisions. Such findings would be particularly important for “at risk” segments such as those with low literacy or low education levels. Therefore, our fourth research question examines whether consumer responses to nutrition disclosures vary depending on whether consumers are primed with information on how to use on-pack nutrition disclosures.

STUDY 1

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information

Study 1 examines the effects of FOP nutrition information disclosure on consumers' (1) attention to nutrition information on the package, (2) perceived ease of use of nutrition information on the package in judging the healthfulness of the product, and (3) engagement with nutrition information on the package. These outcome variables were chosen due to their relevancy to public policy and consistency with previous research on nutrition disclosures. It is important for any new information disclosure to capture consumers' attention and get them to engage with the information contained in the disclosure. Furthermore, an important goal for any nutritional disclosure is the extent to which it helps consumers easily judge the healthfulness of food choices. This study also examines the potential moderating effect of nutrition knowledge. To test these effects, a between-subjects experiment was conducted using professionally designed mock product packages.

Method

Design, Procedure, and Sample

Study 1 used a national online sample of 177 adult parents residing in the United States with at least one child under the age of 18 living in the household. Subjects were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Mean age of the participants was 35 years (SD = 9.2; range = 19–60) and 56% were female. Fifty-seven percent were the primary grocery shopper for their family, and another 31% shared the grocery shopping responsibility equally with another family member. Participants were told that the study's purpose was to examine consumer perceptions of food packages. After viewing an informed consent and agreeing to participate, subjects were provided with instructions and shown one of the five stimuli. These consisted of a four-color mock picture of the front panel of a granola bar package. A granola bar was selected because FOP nutrition information is commonly displayed on granola bar packages in the marketplace. (Please refer to online Appendix 1 for a full-color example of the stimuli used.) A fictitious brand was used to minimize the potential for brand biases (85% of participants reported they had never heard of the brand before and only 3% of respondents reported they had purchased this brand before).

The between-subjects experiment examined four different FOP nutrition disclosure conditions plus a control condition. The first treatment condition (Facts Up Front long version) displayed nutrition information consistent with the FUF format currently used by US grocery manufacturers. This condition prominently displayed nutrition information in boxes with a white background, and included number of calories per serving and levels of saturated fat, sodium, and sugars. Consistent with the FUF guidelines, two “nutrients to encourage” (i.e., iron and calcium) were also shown. When appropriate, the percent daily values were displayed below the nutrient amounts. The second condition (Traffic Lights long version) contained the exact same nutrition information in the exact same format as the first condition, except that colored backgrounds consistent with the TL interpretive format were used. Calorie information was displayed with a white background, while saturated fat was displayed with a red background because the amount of saturated fat in this product was 20% of the FDA recommended daily intake for this nutrient. The remaining nutrients were displayed with a green background. The third and fourth conditions were identical to the first two except the “nutrients to encourage” were absent. Thus, condition three (Facts Up Front short version) displayed calories, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars with a white background, and condition four (Traffic Lights short version) showed this information with a colored background. In summary, the five experimental conditions were (1) control, (2) Facts Up Front long version, (3) Traffic Lights long version, (4) Facts Up Front short version, and (5) Traffic Lights short version.

While viewing the front panel of the mock package, participants had the option of viewing the back of the package or proceeding to the questionnaire. If participants opted to view the back, a mockup of the package back was shown including the NFP. If participants chose not to view the back of the package, they proceeded directly to the questionnaire. This included the dependent measures, followed by the five-item nutrition knowledge measure, demographics, and ended with the manipulation check measures.

Measures

Dependent Variables

Attention to nutrition information on the package was measured with two items, similar in nature to traditional attention measures used in the advertising literature (Laczniak, Muehling, and Grossbart 1989; Muehling, Stoltman, and Grossbart 1990). The two 7-point scales were anchored by “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree,” and stated “I noticed nutrition information on the front of the package” and “I paid attention to nutrition information on the front of the package” (r = 0.80).

Two questions designed to measure how easily participants could judge the product's healthfulness (i.e., ease of use) were also adapted from previous literature (Mukherjee and Hoyer 2001). The two 7-point items anchored by “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree” included “It is easy to determine the healthfulness of the product,” and “It is easy to understand whether this product is a healthy or unhealthy choice” (r = 0.84).

As a proxy for engagement with the nutrition information on the package, participants rated their desire to view the back of the product package (featuring the NFP with detailed nutrition information) on two 7-point items anchored by “strongly disagree” and “strongly agree.” These items included “The information on the FRONT of the package made me want to examine the BACK of the package,” and “I got all the information I needed from the FRONT of the package and did not feel the need to see the BACK of the package.” After reverse coding the second item, the correlation between these items was 0.55.

Nutrition Knowledge

Nutrition knowledge was measured with five questions similar to items used in previous research (Andrews, Netemeyer, and Burton 2009; Levy et al. 2000). Participants were instructed to answer the multiple choice questions to the best of their ability. Items related to various aspects of nutrition knowledge including saturated fat (e.g., “Nutrition guidelines suggest that no more than ____ percent of the calories consumed in a day should come from saturated fat”) and sodium (e.g., “Children and most adults should consume ____ milligrams or less sodium per day”). Each question included three possible answers along with an “I don't know” option. Correct responses were coded as “1” and incorrect responses and “I don't know” responses were coded as “0.” The proxy for nutrition knowledge was the sum of the correct responses for each participant. The median score for participants was 2 (SD = 0.96). These questions were asked after the dependent variables, near the end of the questionnaire.

Manipulation Check

To ensure that the FOP nutrition information disclosure manipulations performed as expected, at the end of the questionnaire, subjects were asked if they saw any nutrition information on the front of the package. Specifically, they were asked “on the front of the package, did you see one of these sets of symbols or icons?” Participants were shown all four variations of the FOP nutrition information and answered by clicking “yes,” “no,” or “I don't remember” for each variation.

Study 1 Results

Manipulation Check

To assess the efficacy of the FOP nutrition information manipulation on the package, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on the check measure with follow-up contrasts. Results show the manipulation was successful because there were significant differences among the conditions, F(4, 172) = 54.23, p < .01. Contrasts show that participants in the treatment conditions were significantly more likely to report that they saw nutrition information on the front of the package stimuli vs. those in the control condition (all p's < .01).

General Findings

To examine effects of the FOP manipulation on the dependent variables, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with follow-up univariate tests and contrasts was performed. Multivariate effects were significant for FOP (Wilks' Lambda = 0.56, F = 9.01, p < .01), while univariate results show that the main effect for FOP was significant for attention, F(4, 172) = 31.10, p < .01, ease of use, F(4, 172) = 6.16, p < .01, and engagement, F(4, 172) = 3.93; p < .01. As indicated by the means in Table 1, the nature of this effect was similar across all three dependent variables and is discussed in detail below.

Table 1. Study 1 Cell Means (and Standard Deviations) for Dependent Variables
Dependent VariablesControl (a)Facts-Up-Front Short Version (b)Facts-Up-Front Long Version (c)Traffic Lights Short Version (d)Traffic Lights Long Version (e)
  1. Note: Superscripts adjacent to the means indicate significant differences (p < .05 or better) according to contrasts. For example, the superscript for the “b” cell (Facts-Up-Front Short Version) indicates that the attention mean is significantly different from the mean for the cells labeled “a” and “c”.

Attention3.13 (1.37)b,c,d,e 5.71 (1.60)a,c6.27 (1.07)a,b5.85 (1.05)a5.97 (0.98)a
Ease of use4.00 (1.68)b,c,d,e5.14 (1.30)a5.60 (0.75)a,d 4.99 (1.32)a,c5.22 (1.21)a
Engagement3.46 (1.00)b,c,d,e4.03 (0.94)a4.18 (0.56)a4.08 (0.79)a4.18 (0.64)a

Pairwise contrasts suggest that all four FOP treatment conditions resulted in higher levels of attention (all t's = 8.42 to 9.67; all p's < .01), ease of use (all t's = 3.12–4.80; all p's < .01), and engagement (all t's = 2.84–3.61; all p's < .01) vs. the control condition, indicating that the presence of any FOP package nutrition information had a significant positive effect on all three dependent variables.

We were specifically interested in examining potential effects due to the amount of nutrition information shown on the front of the package. That is, the FUF initiative allows food manufacturers to display up to two additional “nutrients to encourage.” Thus, we examined the long FUF condition (with two nutrients to encourage) vs. the shortened FUF condition (without nutrients to encourage). Pairwise contrasts indicate that the long FUF condition resulted in significantly higher levels of attention (M = 6.27 vs. 5.71; t = 1.87, p < .05) and marginally higher levels of reported ease of use (M = 5.60 vs. 5.14; t = 1.49, p = .07). There were no observed differences in engagement (all p's > .10); a comparison of the short vs. long TL conditions yielded no effects (all p's > .10). Finally, to assess the possible impact of color in the TL conditions, we tested for differences in the two white FUF conditions vs. the two colored TL conditions. Contrasts did not reveal any significant differences (all p's > .10). In summary, there is some evidence that the standard FUF condition including “nutrients to encourage” results in more attention and is easier to use than a shortened version. Moreover, our results show that the interpretive color scheme in the TL conditions did not result in higher levels of attention, ease of use, or engagement vs. the single color FUF conditions.

To test the potential moderating effect of nutrition knowledge on FOP nutrition information, regression analysis was used.3 Because the FOP independent variable was categorical in nature (with five different categories), it was first reduced to a dichotomous variable (FOP present = 1 vs. FOP absent = 0). Next, each of the dependent variables was regressed on FOP, nutrition knowledge, and the FOP × nutrition knowledge interaction term. The overall model for ease of use was significant (F = 45.09, p < .01). Consistent with the ANOVA results, the presence of FOP nutrition information had a significant influence on ease of use (β = 2.81, t = 10.78, p < .01) as did nutrition knowledge (β = 0.22, t = 2.25, p < .05). Further, the FOP × nutrition knowledge interaction was significant for ease of use (β = 0.73, t = 2.63, p < .01), but not for the attention or engagement variables (all p's > .10). Nutrition knowledge also did not have a main effect on attention or engagement. These nonsignificant findings may suggest that the FOP drew consumers' attention to personally relevant nutrients (Jones and Richardson 2007) and consumers generally prefer more information than less information (Andrews, Netemeyer, and Burton 1998), thus allowing consumers to engage in the nutrition disclosure similarly across the different levels of nutrition knowledge.

To interpret the FOP × nutrition knowledge interaction on ease of use, we plotted each level of FOP against low and high levels of nutrition knowledge (using a median split).4 As shown in Figure 1, consumers with both low and high levels of nutrition knowledge seem to benefit from the presence of FOP nutrition information. However, consumers with higher levels of nutrition knowledge seem to benefit most from formats with more information (e.g., the two conditions with “nutrients to encourage”). Consumers with lower levels of nutrition knowledge did not find the TL condition with the extra nutrients as easy to use. In fact, this condition was not statistically different from the control condition for low nutrition knowledge consumers.

image

Figure 1. Study 1: The Effect of FOP Nutrition Information Disclosure and Nutrition Knowledge on Ease of Use

Note: FUF = Facts Up Front; TL = Traffic Lights.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Finally, as a behavioral measure of engagement, we examined how likely study participants were to request to view the back of the package. Recall that as participants viewed the package stimuli (front of the package), they were given the option to proceed with the study or to view the back of the product package. Of the 177 Study 1 participants, 156 (88%) requested to see the back of the package. While all 21 participants who opted not to see the back of the package were in one of the four treatment conditions, and all of the participants in the control condition requested to see the back of the package, the Chi-square test for this difference was not significant (χ2 = 5.79, p = .22).5 This suggests that the presence of FOP nutrition information does not seem to truncate nutrition information search or discourage consumers from viewing the back of the package.

Study 1 Discussion

Results from this first study indicate that the presence of FOP nutrition information disclosures results in more positive outcomes than packages with no nutrition information on the front across all three dependent variables.6 In addition, the long FUF condition produced significantly higher attention levels than the shortened version, and marginally higher levels of ease of use. No other significant differences were found between the various comparisons of interest, but consumer levels of nutrition knowledge did significantly moderate the relationship between FOP format and perceived ease of use. More specifically, those at all levels of nutrition knowledge gain some benefit from FOP information, but those with more nutrition knowledge found the additional information (i.e., “nutrients to encourage”) easier to use than their less knowledgeable counterparts. While these findings offer further evidence that FOP nutrition disclosures can be beneficial to consumers, we question whether these disclosures influence perceptions of specific nutrition content of the foods and how consumers may use this information. Further, it is unclear if consumers actually know how to use these disclosures. Hence, Study 2 examines the potential moderating role of educational disclosures on the use of FOP nutrition information across an additional set of dependent measures.

STUDY 2

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information

Method

Design, Procedure, and Sample

The purpose of Study 2 was to examine how the provision of an educational prime may impact consumer usage of FOP nutrition disclosures. In Study 1, we found no significant differences on consumer evaluations across disclosure formats (FUF and TL). This may be partly due to the sample of US consumers having relatively low awareness of the TL nutrition labeling system compared to the FUF disclosures, which appear on food packages in the United States. To better assess the influence of disclosure formats, we used an educational prime in which half of the respondents in each of the treatment conditions were provided brief background information on FOP disclosures and how to interpret them prior to examining the granola bar package. The control condition was not exposed to the educational prime. The participants in the prime condition received information only on the FOP nutrition disclosure that they were to examine (i.e., participants in one of the TL conditions received information on how to interpret traffic light nutrition disclosures). Besides the addition of this educational priming and the use of a broader base sample, the stimuli, the design, and the procedures remained consistent with Study 1.

Study 2 utilized a national online sample of 238 adults recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. The mean age of the sample was 35 years (SD = 12.69; range = 18 to 72) and 48% were female. Fifty-four percent of participants identified themselves as the primary grocery shopper for their family and another 32% shared the grocery shopping responsibility equally with another family member. The same fictitious brand was used (90% of participants reported they had never heard of the brand before, and only 2% of respondents reported they had purchased this brand before), as were the same five conditions (four variations of FOP nutrition information and one control condition).

Measures

Study 2 utilized the same three outcome measures used in Study 1: attention (r = 0.83), ease of use (r = 0.91), and engagement (r = 0.55), but also included variables designed to measure how useful the on-package nutrition information was for consumers in their product evaluation and purchase decision. Product evaluation was adapted from previous literature (Deshpande and Zaltman 1982; Gürhan-Canli 2003) and was assessed with three items, including “The information on the front of the package was necessary to make an informed food decision” (strongly disagree/strongly agree), “Please indicate the degree to which the information on the front of the package was useful in evaluating the package” (of no use/of great use), and “Please indicate the degree to which the information on the front of the package was indicative of how good or bad the product was” (not at all indicative/very indicative, Alpha = 0.85). As a general measure of purchase influence, participants responded to the statement, “The nutrition-related information shown on this food package would help me decide whether or not to buy this product” (strongly disagree/strongly agree).

In this study, we were also interested in how FOP nutrition disclosures may influence consumers' evaluations of the levels of different nutrients. As such, we asked participants “Based on the information on the package, do you consider the product to be…” Calories, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, iron, and calcium were evaluated on 7-point scales (e.g., low in calories/high in calories; low in saturated fat/high in saturated fat; low in calcium/high in calcium). Recall that the Study 2 package stimuli were the same as used in Study 1 (i.e., the granola bars had high levels of saturated fat and low levels of all other nutrients). Subjects also completed the manipulation check measure used in Study 1.

Study 2 Results

Manipulation Check

ANOVA results indicate a successful FOP manipulation because significant differences among the conditions were observed, F(4, 232) = 72.36, p < .01. Participants in the four treatment conditions were more likely to report seeing nutrition information on the front of the package stimuli vs. the control condition (all p's < .01).

General Findings

To test the effects of the FOP manipulation, a MANOVA with follow-up univariate tests and contrasts was performed. The multivariate effect was significant for both FOP (Wilks' Lambda = 0.57, F = 6.86, p < .01) and the educational prime (Wilks' Lambda = 0.94, F = 2.64, p < .05). Consistent with Study 1, univariate results show that FOP was significant for attention: F(4, 228) = 33.03, p < .01, ease of use: F(4, 228) = 6.92, p < .01 and engagement: F(4, 228) = 2.36; p < .05. As shown in Table 2, the pattern of results was generally consistent with the first study's findings for attention and ease of use; that is, the FOP treatment conditions outperformed the control condition. In addition, the educational prime manipulation was significant for attention: F(1, 228) = 8.85, p < .01, and there was a significant univariate FOP × educational prime interaction for ease of use: F(3, 228) = 2.47; p < .05

Table 2. Study 2 Cell Means (and Standard Deviations) for Dependent Variables
Dependent VariablesControl (a)Facts-Up-Front Short Version (b)Facts-Up-Front Long Version (c)Traffic Lights Short Version (d)Traffic Lights Long Version (e)
  1. Note: Superscripts adjacent to the means indicate significant differences (p < .05 or better) according to contrasts. For example, the superscript for the “b” cell (Facts-Up-Front Short Version) indicates that the attention mean is significantly different from the mean for the cells labeled “a” and “c”.

Attention3.60 (1.77)b,c,d,e5.96 (1.33)a,c  6.49 (0.75)a,b,d,e 5.95 (1.09)a,c 5.94 (1.50)a,c
Ease of use3.90 (2.03)b,c,d,e5.18 (1.32)a,c 5.64 (1.19)a,b,d 5.05 (1.40)a,c5.17 (1.32)a
Engagement5.46 (1.12)b,e  4.84 (1.87)a,c5.42 (1.52)b,e5.24 (1.57)e  4.63 (1.65)a.c,d
Product evaluation4.12 (1.55)b,c,d,e 5.11 (1.38)a,c,e5.71 (1.06)a,b5.43 (1.15)a  5.71 (1.19)a,b
Purchase influence4.98 (1.81)c   5.17 (1.55)  5.92 (1.11)a, e5.47 (1.36)5.28 (1.45)c

For Study 2, we were also interested in how the FOP nutrition disclosures influence consumers' specific evaluations of the product and their decision to purchase the product (Table 2). For the product evaluation dependent variable, all four treatment conditions outperformed the control condition (M's = 5.11–5.71, p < .05). Additionally, the long FUF disclosure and the long TL disclosure both helped consumers better evaluate the product vs. the shortened FUF condition (M = 5.71, p < .05). For purchase decisions, only the long FUF condition outperformed the control condition (M = 5.92 vs. 4.98, p < .05), but the long FUF disclosure outperformed the long TL disclosure (p < .05).

As shown in Figure 2, results also indicate that the educational prime moderates the influence of the FOP nutrition disclosure on ease of use, F(3, 228) = 2.47; p < .05. As noted, all FOP conditions outperform the control conditions, suggesting that the presence of any FOP nutrition disclosure makes it easier to use compared to no FOP disclosure at all. Interestingly, each disclosure was perceived as equally easy to use when study participants were primed with information on what FOP disclosures are and instructions on how to use them. However, in the absence of such information, the long FUF disclosure outperforms all other treatment conditions (all p's < .05); the shortened FUF, short TL and long TL conditions are not significantly different (p > .05).

image

Figure 2. Study 2: The Effect of FOP Nutrition Information Disclosure and Educational Prime on Ease of Use

Note: FUF = Facts Up Front; TL = Traffic Lights.

Download figure to PowerPoint

We again used MANOVA to evaluate the impact of FOP disclosures and the educational prime on perceptions of specific nutrient levels (Figure 3). Univariate results reveal a significant effect of FOP on calories: F(4, 228) = 3.21; p < .01, saturated fat: F(4, 228) = 2.20; p < .05, sugar: F(4, 228) = 2.18; p < .05, iron: F(4, 228) = 3.33; p < .01 and calcium: F(4, 228) = 3.89; p < .01. The results across the different nutrients are inconsistent. In some instances, the nutrition disclosures seem to decrease the nutrient level perceptions (e.g., sodium, sugar) relative to the control condition. For saturated fat (the nutrient which exceeded recommended levels), the nutrition disclosures seemed to raise consumer nutrient level perceptions (with the exception of the FUF-Short, which was not different from the control condition). In general, consumers seemed to benefit from seeing the “positive nutrients” (i.e., iron and calcium) disclosed on the front of the package because the “long versions” of the disclosures resulted in higher nutrient level perceptions than the “short versions.” The influence of the educational prime was significant for saturated fat: F(1, 228) = 10.91; p < .01, sodium: F(1, 228) = 4.80; p < .01, and sugar: F(1, 228) = 9.67; p < .01; more specifically, the prime resulted in higher perceived levels of each nutrient.

image

Figure 3. Study 2: The Effect of FOP Nutrition Information Disclosure on Nutrient Level Perceptions

Note: FUF-S = Facts Up Front short version; FUF-L = Facts Up Front long version; TL-S = Traffic Lights short version; TL-L = Traffic Lights long version.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Of particular interest, a FOP × educational prime interaction effect was found for the two “positive” nutrients, Firon(3, 228) = 4.67, p < .01; Fcalcium(3, 228) = 4.45, p < .01. As illustrated in Figure 4(A) and (B), participants reported significantly lower amounts of iron (M = 2.94) and calcium (M = 2.94) in the shortened TL disclosure condition in the absence of the educational prime, relative to the other disclosure conditions (Msiron = 3.61–4.94; Mscalcium = 3.44–4.89) and control conditions (Miron = 3.44; Mcalcium = 4.89). Consistent with prior literature on a “negative health halo” effect (e.g., Andrews, Burton, and Kees 2011; Howlett et al. 2012), without a “positive” nutrients disclosure on the front of the package (i.e., both short disclosure conditions) and instructions on how to interpret the disclosures, consumers may generalize the negative nutrient level(s) to other nutrients.

image

Figure 4. Study 2: The Effect of FOP Nutrition Information Disclosure on Nutrient Level Perceptions. (A) Perceived iron content. (B) Perceived calcium content

Note: FUF = Facts Up Front; TL = Traffic Lights.

Download figure to PowerPoint

As in Study 1, we also examined the long FUF condition (with two nutrients to encourage) vs. the shortened FUF condition (without nutrients to encourage) and the long TL condition vs. the short TL condition. Similar to prior results, pairwise contrasts indicate the long FUF condition resulted in significantly higher levels of attention (t = 3.68; p < .05), ease of use (t = 2.71; p = .05), engagement (t = 2.08; p < .10), product evaluation (t = 4.93; p < .05), and purchase influence (t = 5.82; p < .05). Consistent with the first study, there were no significant differences for the short vs. long TL conditions (all p's > .10). Moreover, no interaction effects were observed with the educational prime.

Next, we examined the effects of color in the TL conditions by assessing potential differences in the two white FUF conditions and the two colored TL conditions. Consistent with Study 1, no main effect of color was found (all p's > .10). There was, however, an educational prime × color interaction effect on ease of use, F(1, 192) = 4.56, p < .05. As illustrated in Figure 5, when consumers are primed with educational material, they react similarly without regard to color. In contrast, when consumers are not primed on how to use FOP nutrition information, the FOP information is easier without color, suggesting the importance of education when interpreting TL formats. The results showing that the no educational prime condition is easier to use compared to the condition with an educational prime suggest that the educational prime may have influenced consumers to allocate more effort to process the nutrition disclosure. Consumers not primed with education, however, may have made immediate assumptions based on the nutrition disclosure itself, thus finding the information easier to use.

image

Figure 5. Study 2: The Effect of FOP Nutrition Information Disclosure (Color vs. No Color) on Ease of Use.

Download figure to PowerPoint

Finally, consistent with Study 1, of the 238 consumers from Study 2, 186 (78%) requested to see the back of the package. Ninety-six percent who opted not to see the back of the package were in one of the four treatment conditions. In contrast to Study 1, however, the Chi-square test was significant (χ2 = 13.98, p < 0.05). Results show that 95% of participants in the control condition, 87% in the long FUF condition, 67% in the shortened FUF condition, 72% in the long TL condition, and 75% in the shortened TL conditions opted to view the back of the package. Follow-up analysis reveals significant differences (p < .05) between the control and long FUF conditions vs. the other disclosure conditions, suggesting that the TL conditions and the shortened FUF conditions may discourage consumers from searching for more detailed nutrition information. These results differ from Study 1. It is possible that the educational prime used in this study played a role because participants subjected to the educational prime condition were more likely to look at the back of the package than those in the control condition, F(1, 235) = 8.34, p < .01.

Exploratory Analysis: Thought Listing

In both studies, participants also participated in a thought listing task immediately after exposure to the experimental stimuli. This task occurred prior to any mention of nutrition or health in the instructions or measures. Hence, this allowed us to analyze if the presence of FOP nutrition information resulted in more unprompted thoughts about nutrition and/or health across the two studies (the data from the two studies was combined for this analysis). The thought listing question asked participants “What thoughts were going through your mind as you viewed the food package on the previous screen? Please list them below.” Participants were given four blank spaces to type their thoughts.

Two independent coders classified all responses into three categories: total nutrition-related thoughts, positive nutrition-related thoughts, and negative nutrition-related thoughts. The total nutrition thoughts variable included any mention of nutrition whether it be general (e.g., this product looks healthy) or specific (e.g., this product is high in calories). Positive nutrition thoughts included any mention of the positive nutrition attributes of the product (e.g., this product is high in calcium), and negative nutrition thoughts included any negative nutrition attributes about the product (e.g., this product is high in sugar). Inter-rater reliability was strong (r = .88 to .93). To determine if FOP nutrition information had any influence on nutrition-related thoughts, an ANOVA was performed on the three types of thoughts. Results show that FOP had a significant impact on total nutrition-related thoughts, F(4, 328) = 4.56, p < .05). Follow-up contrasts indicate that the short FUF condition (M = 1.39; t = 2.47, p < .05), long FUF condition (M = 1.66; t = 3.69, p < .05), short TL condition (M = 1.39; t = 3.59, p < .05), and long TL condition (M = 1.53; t = 3.27, p < .05) all produced significantly more nutrition-related thoughts than the control condition (M = 0.91). No differences were observed among any of the experimental conditions for positive or negative nutrition-related thoughts. This data is consistent with our other findings, and demonstrates that FOP nutrition information can prompt consumers to think about nutritional attributes of the product.

Study 2 Discussion

Results from Study 2 were generally consistent with those from Study 1 and provide further evidence that the FOP nutrition disclosures tested here may be beneficial to consumers. Study 2 also uncovered some interesting boundary conditions for the effects of FOP information disclosures. For example, the finding that an educational prime moderates some FOP disclosure effects suggests that education may be critical for certain FOP disclosures. The two-way interaction results for ease of use could indicate that consumers may not understand how to use TL disclosures without some instructions or education. It is also possible that TL disclosures may need additional interpretive text (e.g., “low” or “high”) to help consumers understand how to interpret the colors. This study also uncovered a potential negative health halo effect, such that high levels of unfavorable nutrients (emphasized in red) may result in consumers making negative attributions to other nutrients, in the absence of FOP disclosures on the other nutrients. This last finding bolsters support for Grunert et al.'s (2010) concerns with the colored TL approach. While prior literature found both positive and negative health halo effects for nutrition information disclosures (e.g., Andrews, Netemeyer, and Burton 1998), the negative health halo effect may have emerged in this study because one of the key nutrients, saturated fat, was red.

DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information

Taken together, findings from our two studies offer important implications for FOP nutrition information disclosure regulation. Overall, our results show that consumers do respond to FOP information more positively than no information at all; findings also demonstrate some differences among the different FOP formats. In both studies, the FUF and TL formats produced more favorable consumer responses than the control conditions. In Study 1, the long FUF format received significantly more attention and marginally more positive ease of use than the shortened FUF version. Study 2 further extends the results by incorporating an educational prime and demonstrates effects across a broader range of dependent variables. The long FUF format generated significantly higher levels of ease of use for subjects who were uninformed about FOP nutrition information disclosures as compared to subjects in the educational prime conditions.

Across both studies, consumers who were knowledgeable and educated about FOP nutrition information favored long (vs. short) formats of FUF and TL. To understand how consumers may utilize these disclosures, an educational prime was used and a noticeable difference across the TL formats emerged. Specifically, consumers seemed to make negative attributions toward other nutrients not listed in the shortened TL disclosures. These findings suggest that when consumers lack the education to accurately process FOP nutrition information disclosures, the TL disclosure may cause consumers to make misleading inferences, potentially creating overgeneralization of other nutrient levels which can translate into uninformed food decisions (e.g., Grunert et al. 2010). An interesting extension of the current research would be to decompose the effects of individual nutrients shown in the TL disclosures to reveal how consumers generate inferences about nutrients not shown on the front of the package. For instance, how might consumers use the single red traffic light and two green traffic lights shown in the shortened TL condition to generate inferences about other nutrients that are absent from the TL disclosure? Further, how might the inferences affect the overall perceived healthfulness of food products?

Although Study 1 failed to provide evidence that the presence of FOP nutrition information truncates nutrition information search (Roe, Levy, and Derby 1999), Study 2 did find some differences across the groups that opted to see the package back. Specifically, when participants were educated about the FOP nutrition information, the TL and the shorter FUF conditions generated a lower likelihood of examining the back of the package. Hence, the educational prime seemed to play a significant role in influencing consumers to view the package back (e.g., to view the NFP or the list of ingredients). It may be interesting to examine whether the FOP disclosure might replace back of the label use as our data suggests. For instance, do consumers end up with different levels of information in the end if they never refer to the back panel? Clearly, more research is needed to examine how FOP information influences consumers' search for additional nutrition information.

Taken together, results from both studies support existing arguments that simpler nutrition information is better (e.g., Kelly et al. 2009; Teisl, Bockstael, and Levy 1997), unless consumers have high levels of nutrition knowledge or are provided with education on how to use such information (e.g., Andrews et al. 2011; Feunekes et al. 2008). Such findings suggest that educational campaigns are needed to influence consumer awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors around any nutrition information displayed on the front of packages (Barreiro-Hurle, Gracia, and de-Magistris 2010; Mazis and Raymond 1997). US food manufacturers have committed $50 million for a consumer education campaign intended to increase consumer awareness and usage of the FUF icon. This integrated marketing communications campaign using TV, radio, print, digital, and in-store channels, will be instrumental in helping consumers benefit most from FOP nutrition information. But even when FOP nutrition information is supported by a substantial consumer educational campaign, there is no guarantee for success. The NFP was supported by a major multi-year educational campaign designed to help consumers understand and use the nutrition information (Kulakow 1995). Despite these efforts, it is still unclear if the population as a whole can properly utilize the NFP. Hence, more research is needed to explore the complex relationships between consumer responses to FOP nutrition information, consumer nutrition knowledge, and consumer education (Andrews, Netemeyer, and Burton 2009).

Moreover, a focus on “at-risk” populations is necessary. Of particular importance are the estimated 90 million “low literacy” adults in the United States. This is a segment that has trouble understanding nutrition information, and could benefit greatly by a FOP nutrition information educational campaign (IOM 2004; Rothman et al. 2006). On the basis of the premise that an educated public will make healthier food choices and reduce diet-related diseases, federal and state agencies have recently undertaken campaigns to educate the public about nutrition and health. Despite the widespread use of the NFP, the most common barrier for this nutrition information to have widespread impact has been the inability for certain consumer segments to comprehend the information and utilize it in a manner that influences their dietary decisions (Cowburn and Stockley 2005).

Our results reinforce this challenge by showing that those with lower nutrition knowledge find expanded TL information more difficult to use. This finding seems counter to past research on interpretive formats which suggest that TL are beneficial due to the simplicity and familiarity (i.e., most consumers understand that “red means stop”) vs. numerical presentation of nutrition information (Kelly et al. 2009). One particularly interesting question rich for future research is how low-literate consumers process colored nutrition information. It is possible that color can add another layer of information that is difficult for this consumer segment to comprehend. Our significant educational prime × color interaction found in Study 2 suggests that this question needs additional exploration. Moreover, anecdotal evidence from the thought listing tasks across both of the studies presented here suggest that, while TL seem intuitive enough, there are segments that (1) don't recognize that the colors have meaning and (2) don't understand the significance/meaning of the colors. Thus, an empirical question that should be studied further is “does a TL style FOP system help or hurt low knowledge/low literacy segments?”

Given the prevalence of diet-related illnesses and the challenges around current methods of providing nutrition information on packaged foods, there is clearly a need for a standardized and simplified method of providing consumers with select nutrition information on the front of food packages. While most FOP nutrition information initiatives worldwide have the overarching goal of assisting consumers in making healthy food choices, it is not clear that the provision of FOP nutrition information in isolation can have a major impact on consumer health. Any FOP initiative (whether industry or government driven) should be part of a larger, integrated consumer education campaign. Moreover, because our results do show that overall, consumers do attend to FOP information, find it easy to use, and are engaged in the process, we provide evidence to suggest that some level of regulation (industry-based or government-based) may be warranted.

The implementation of these regulations, however, is questionable. An Institute of Medicine report (supported by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the US Department of Agriculture) concluded that FOP nutrition information could help consumers reduce their consumption of negative nutrients (e.g., saturated fat, sodium, sugars) and increase their consumption of positive nutrients (e.g., vitamin D, calcium, potassium) (IOM 2010). But despite the vast amounts of research on FOP nutrition information across many disciplines, there does not appear to be a “best” option.

So although there is not a clear solution to communicate nutrition information to consumers on the front of packages, consumers would benefit from consistency. The current environment that offers various types of “competing” FOP nutrition information, oftentimes varying by grocery store or food manufacturer (e.g., Hannaford Supermarkets' Guiding Stars; Giant's Healthy Ideas), is just as likely to confuse consumers as assist them in making better food choices (British Market Research Bureau 2009). While the grocery industry has “buy in” from the vast majority of US food manufacturers to conform to the FUF guidelines and place the icon on all the foods they sell, it is still unclear what the final penetration rate of FUF will be in the marketplace. An important question that remains to be answered is if industry self-regulation will result in a level of standardization needed to reduce consumer confusion about FOP nutrition information on packages (Which? 2006).

Our findings highlight the role of expanded FOP information on consumer response and emphasize the moderating effect of both nutrition knowledge and nutrition education. If we can determine what has the most potential to reach consumers at all levels of nutrition knowledge, then appropriate and effectiveness guidelines—whether mandated by the FDA or created voluntarily within the industry—can be developed. As a result, our studies have implications for the continued development of FOP information that is helpful to consumers as well as self-regulation within the grocery manufacturing industry and potential regulation by the US government.

  • 1

    See reviews in Hieke and Taylor (2012), Hawkes (2010), Baltas (2001), Drichoutis, Lazaridis and Nayga (2006).

  • 2

    This research is focused on FOP information disclosures. Other FOP nutrition information (e.g., health claims) is not studied in this article.

  • 3

    We also examined the FOP × nutrition knowledge interaction effect in ANOVA by using a median split for nutrition knowledge. These results were very consistent with the regression results and are available upon request.

  • 4

    We also conducted a spotlight analysis (Aiken and West 1991; Fitzsimons 2008) to investigate the moderating effect of nutrition knowledge on ease of use. These results were consistent with the median split results.

  • 5

    The number of participants who opted not to see the back of the package was similar across treatment conditions; range = 4–7.

  • 6

    Findings from this study were generalized to a separate product category (cold cereal) in a separate study (N = 172). Results from this study were highly consistent with Study 1 reported in this article and are available upon request from the first author.

REFERENCES

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information
  • Aiken, Leona S. and Stephen G. West. 1991. Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions. 1st edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Andrews, Craig J., Richard G. Netemeyer, and Scot Burton. 1998. Consumer Generalization of Nutrient Content Claims in Advertising. Journal of Marketing, 62 (October): 6275.
  • Andrews, Craig J., Scot Burton, and Richard G. Netemeyer. 2000. Are Some Comparative Nutrition Claims Misleading? The Role of Nutrition Knowledge, Ad Claim Type, and Disclosure Conditions. Journal of Advertising, 29 (Fall): 2942.
  • Andrews, Craig J., Richard G. Netemeyer, and Scot Burton. 2009. The Nutrition Elite: Do Only the Highest Levels of Caloric Knowledge, Obesity Knowledge, and Motivation Matter in Processing Nutrition Ad Claims and Disclosures? Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 28 (1): 4155.
  • Andrews, Craig, Scot Burton, and Jeremy Kees. 2011. Is Simpler Always Better? Consumer Evaluations of Front-of-Package Nutrition Symbols. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 30 (2): 175190.
  • Baltas, George. 2001. Nutrition Labelling: Issues and Policies. European Journal of Marketing, 35 (5/6): 708721.
  • Barreiro-Hurle, Jesus, Azucena Gracia, and Tiziana de-Magistris. 2010. Does Nutrition Information on Food Products Lead to Healthier Food Choices? Food Policy, 35: 221229.
  • Berning, Joshua P., Hayley H. Chouniard, Kenneth C. Manning, Jill J. McCluskey, and David E. Sprott. 2010. Identifying Consumer Preferences for Nutrition Information on Grocery Store Shelf Labels. Food Policy, 35: 429436.
  • Bialkova, Svetlana and Hans van Trijp. 2010. What Determines Consumer Attention to Nutrition Labels? Food Quality and Preference, 21: 10421051.
  • British Market Research Bureau. 2009. Comprehension and Use of UK Nutrition Signpost Labelling Schemes. London: British Market Research Bureau.
  • Burton, Scot and Jeremy Kees. 2012. Impediments to Population-Based Health Benefits of Restaurant Chain Menu Labeling Provisions in the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31 (2).
  • Cowburn, Gill and Lynn Stockley. 2005. Consumer Understanding and Use of Nutrition Labelling: A Systematic Review. Public Health Nutrition, 8: 2128.
  • Deshpande, Rohit and Gerald Zaltman. 1982. Factors Affecting the Use of Market Research Information: A Path Analysis. Journal of Marketing Research, 19 (1): 1431.
  • Drichoutis, Andreas C., Panagiotis Lazaridis, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr. 2006. Consumers' use of nutritional labels: A review of research studies and issues. Academy of Marketing Science Reviews, 10 (9). http://www.amsreview.org/articles/drichoutis09-2006.pdf.
  • Facts Up Front. 2013. Facts About Facts Up Front. http://www.factsupfront.org. (Accessed on January 10, 2013).
  • Feunekes, Gerda I.J., Ilse A. Gortemaker, Astrid A. Willems, René Lion, and Marcelle van den Kommer. 2008. Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling: Testing Effectiveness of Different Nutrition Labeling Formats Front-of-Pack in Four European Countries. Appetite, 50 (1): 5770.
  • Fitzsimons, Gavan J. 2008. Death to Dichotomizing. Journal of Consumer Research, 35 (June): 58.
  • Grunert, Klaus G. and Josephine M. Wills. 2007. A Review of European Research on Consumer Response to Nutrition Information on Food Labels. Journal of Public Health, 15: 385399.
  • Grunert, Klaus G., Josephine M. Wills, and Laura Fernández-Celemín. 2010. Nutrition Knowledge, and Use and Understanding of Nutrition Information on Food Labels Among Consumers in the UK. Appetite, 55 (2): 177189.
  • Gürhan-Canli, Zeynep. 2003. The Effect of Expected Variability of Product Quality and Attribute Uniqueness on Family Brand Evaluations. Journal of Consumer Research, 30 (June): 105114.
  • Hawkes, Corinna. 2004. Nutrition Labels and Health Claims: The Global Regulatory Environment. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
  • ———. 2010. Food Packaging: The Medium Is the Message. Public Health Nutrition, 13: 297299.
  • Health and Human Services. 2011. Policy Research for Front of Package Nutrition Labeling: Environmental Scan and Literature Review. http://aspe.hhs.gov/sp/reports/2011/FOPNutritionLabelingLitRev/index.shtml#refs
  • Hieke, Sophie and Charles R. Taylor. 2012. A Critical Review of the Literature on Nutritional Labeling. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 46 (1): 120156.
  • Howlett, Elizabeth, Scot Burton, Andrea Heintz Tangari, and My. Bui. 2012. Hold the Salt! Effects of Sodium Information Provision, Sodium Content, and Hypertension on Perceived Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Purchase Intentions. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31 (1).
  • IFICF (International Food Information Council Foundation). 2011. Front of Pack Labeling Consumer Research Project. http://www.foodinsight.org/Content/3651/IFIC%20FOP%20SLIDES%20for%20WEB2011.pdf.
  • Inman, J. Jeffrey and Russell S. Winer. 1998. Where the Rubber Meets the Road: A Model of In-Store Consumer Decision Making. Cambridge, MA: Marketing Science Institute.
  • IOM. 2004. Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • ———. 2010. Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase I Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • Jones, Gary and Miles Richardson. 2007. An Objective Examination of Consumer Perception of Nutrition Information Based on Healthiness Ratings and Eye Movements. Public Health Nutrition, 10: 238244.
  • Kelly, Bridget, Clare Hughes, Kathy Chapman, Jimmy Chun-Yu Louie, Helen Dixon, Jennifer Crawford, Lesley King, Mike Daube, and Terry Slevin. 2009. Consumer Testing of the Acceptability and Effectiveness of Front-of-Pack Food Labelling Systems for the Australian Grocery Market. Health Promotion International, 24 (2): 120129.
  • Kim, Woo Kyoung and Juhyeon Kim. 2009. A Study on the Consumer's Perception of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling. Nutrition Research and Practice, 3 (4): 300306.
  • Kozup, John, Charles R. Taylor, Michael L. Capella, and Jeremy Kees. 2012. Sound Disclosures: Assessing When a Disclosure Is Worthwhile. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31 (2): 313322.
  • Kulakow, Naomi. 1995. NLEA: Linking Education to Regulation. In Nutrition Labeling Handbook, edited by R. Shapiro. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  • Laczniak, Russell N., Darrel D. Muehling, and Sanford Grossbart. 1989. Manipulating Message Involvement in Advertising Research. Journal of Advertising, 18 (2): 2838.
  • Levy, Alan S., Sara B. Fein, and Raymond E. Schucker. 1996. Performance Characteristics of Seven Nutrition Label Formats. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 15 (1): 115.
  • Levy, Lisa, Ruth E. Patterson, Alan R. Kristal, and S.Li. Sue. 2000. How Well Do Consumers Understand Percentage Daily Value on Food Labels? American Journal of Health Promotion, 14 (3): 157160.
  • Lytton, Timothy D. 2010. Regulating Front of Package Nutrition Labels, Part 1 of 3: Better Enforcement of Existing Standards. http://blog.fooducate.com/2010/01/15/regulating-front-of-package-nutrition-labels-part-1-of-3-better-enforcement-of-existing-standards/ (Accessed on February 26, 2013).
  • Malam, Sally, Sue Clegg, Sarah Kirwan, Stephen McGingal, and British Market Research Bureau (BMRB). 2009. Comprehension and use of UK nutrition signpost labelling schemes. Prepared for Food Standards Agency.
  • Mazis, Michael B. and Mary Anne Raymond. 1997. Consumer Perceptions of Health Claims in Advertisements and on Food Labels. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 31 (1): 1026.
  • Moorman, Christine and Erika Matulich. 1993. A Model of Consumers' Preventive Health Behaviors: The Role of Health Motivation and Health Ability. Journal of Consumer Research, 20 (September): 208228.
  • Möser, Anke, Christine Hoefkens, John Van Camp, and Wim Verbeke. 2010. Simplified Nutrient Labelling: Consumers' Perceptions in Germany and Belgium. Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, 5 (2): 169180. DOI: 10.1007/s00003-009-0531-0.
  • Muehling, Darrel D., Jeffrey J. Stoltman, and Sanford Grossbart. 1990. The Impact of Comparative Advertising on Levels of Message Involvement. Journal of Advertising, 4 (19): 4150.
  • Mukherjee, Ashesh and Wayne D. Hoyer. 2001. The Effect of Novel Attributes on Product Evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 28 (3): 462472.
  • National Australian Heart Foundation. 2009. Australians and front of pack labelling: What we want, what we need. http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Tick%20HeartFoundation%20Research%20Summary%20FOPL.pdf.
  • Nayga, Rodolfo M. Jr., Daria Lipinski, and Nitin Savur. 1998. Consumers' Use of Nutritional Labels While Food Shopping and at Home. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 32 (1): 106120.
  • Park, C. Whan, Easwar S. Iyer, and Daniel C. Smith. 1989. The Effects of Situational Factors on In-store Grocery Shopping Behavior: The Role of Store Environment and Time Available for Shopping. Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (4): 422433.
  • Roe, Brian, Alan S. Levy, and Brenda M. Derby. 1999. The Impact of Health Claims on Consumer Search and Product Evaluation Outcomes: Results from FDA Experimental Data. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 18 (1): 89105.
  • Rotfeld, Herbert Jack. 2009. Health Information Consumers Can't or Don't Want to Use. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 43 (3): 373377.
  • Rothman, Russell L., Ryan Housam, Hilary Weiss, Dianne Davis, Rebecca Gregory, Tebeb Gebretsadik, Ayumi Shintani, and Tom A. Elasy. 2006. Patient Understanding of Food Labels. The Role of Literacy and Numeracy. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31: 391398.
  • Synovate. 2005. Quantitative Evaluation of Alternative Food Signposting Concepts: Report of Findings. COI on behalf of the Food Standards Agency.
  • Szykman, Lisa R., Paul N. Bloom, and Alan S. Levy. 1997. A Proposed Model of the Use of Package Claims and Nutrition Labels. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 16 (2): 228241.
  • Teisl, Mario F., Nancy E. Bockstael, and Alan S. Levy. 1997. Preferences for Food Labels: A Discrete Choice Approach. In Strategy and Policy in the Food System: Emerging Issues, edited by J. A. Caswell, and R. W. Cotterill (171–194). Washington, DC: Food Marketing Policy Center, University of Connecticut. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/handle/25955
  • Which? 2006. Healthy Signs? Campaign Report. London, UK.

Supporting Information

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. STUDY 1
  4. STUDY 2
  5. DISCUSSION, FUTURE RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS
  6. REFERENCES
  7. Supporting Information
FilenameFormatSizeDescription
joca12033-sup-0001-AppendixS1.docWord document290KAppendix 1. Examples of Experimental Stimuli.

Please note: Wiley Blackwell is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting information supplied by the authors. Any queries (other than missing content) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.