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Prev Med. 2018 Oct;115:83-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.08.022. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

Influence of front-of-package nutrition labels on beverage healthiness perceptions: Results from a randomized experiment.

Author information

1
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. Electronic address: rbacton@uwaterloo.ca.
2
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
3
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. Electronic address: dhammond@uwaterloo.ca.

Abstract

The current study explored the influence of three summary indicator front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels on consumer perceptions of the healthiness of different beverage products. In 2016, a total of 675 respondents in southwestern Ontario aged 16 and over viewed images of soda, unflavoured milk and chocolate milk displaying one of four FOP label conditions (no FOP label, numeric rating, health star rating (HSR), or simplified traffic light (STL)), and rated the products' healthiness. Participants also indicated their preference for summary indicator versus nutrient-specific FOP labels. Logistic regression models comparing correct responses across label conditions found no differences across label conditions for unflavoured milk or soda. Consumers in the HSR and STL conditions were more likely to correctly perceive a chocolate milk beverage as 'moderately healthy' (p = 0.004, p = 0.016). No differences in responses were identified across sociodemographic groups. Most respondents (93%) indicated that they would like to see a health rating or nutrient-specific information on the front of food products. Results of this study suggest that the influence of FOP labels may vary based on the nutritional quality of food products, and may have the greatest influence on consumer perceptions of 'nutritionally ambiguous' foods. Consumers indicated almost unanimous support for implementing FOP nutrition labelling systems.

KEYWORDS:

Beverages; Food labelling; Health policy; Nutrition policy

PMID:
30145345
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.08.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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