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Public Health Nutr. 2017 Dec;20(18):3360-3371. doi: 10.1017/S136898001700249X. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Nutrition warnings as front-of-pack labels: influence of design features on healthfulness perception and attentional capture.

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1Centro de Investigación Básica en Psicología, Facultad de Psicología,Universidad de la República,Tristán Narvaja 1674,CP 11200,Montevideo,Uruguay.
2Sensometrics & Consumer Science,Instituto Polo Tecnológico de Pando, Facultad de Química,Universidad de la República,Pando,Canelones,Uruguay.
3Observatorio de Seguridad Alimentaria,Instituto Nacional de Alimentación,Montevideo,Uruguay.



Warnings are a new directive front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling scheme that highlights products with high content of key nutrients. The design of warnings influences their ability to catch consumers' attention and to clearly communicate their intended meaning, which are key determinants of their effectiveness. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the influence of design features of warnings as a FOP nutrition labelling scheme on perceived healthfulness and attentional capture.


Five studies with a total of 496 people were carried out. In the first study, the association of colour and perceived healthfulness was evaluated in an online survey in which participants had to rate their perceived healthfulness of eight colours. In the second study, the influence of colour, shape and textual information on perceived healthfulness was evaluated using choice-conjoint analysis. The third study focused on implicit associations between two design features (shape and colour) on perceived healthfulness. The fourth and fifth studies used visual search to evaluate the influence of colour, size and position of the warnings on attentional capture.


Perceived healthfulness was significantly influenced by shape, colour and textual information. Colour was the variable with the largest contribution to perceived healthfulness. Colour, size and position of the warnings on the labels affected attentional capture.


Results from the experiments provide recommendations for the design of warnings to identify products with unfavourable nutrient profile.


Label design; Nutrition labels; Nutritional information; Warnings

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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