Policy makers are considering whether enhanced on-pack nutrition labelling could improve consumers’ diets and thus reduce obesity rates. While some manufacturers have voluntarily placed Percent Daily Intake (PDI) nutrition labels on the front of their products, health and consumer lobbyists have advocated for Traffic Light Labels (TLL) to become mandatory. This research investigated whether these alternative nutrition information formats affect consumers’ product evaluations, compared to the current Nutrition Information Panel (NIP, the control). A three by two between-groups experiment, manipulating nutrition label format and nutritional profile, found that both front-of-pack nutrition labels enhanced consumers’ ability to evaluate products more accurately, while product evaluations did not vary with changes to nutritional values in the control conditions. The TLL stimulus produced greater variation between groups, while the PDI labels elicited similar results to the control groups. Front-of-pack TLLs appear better able to help consumers identify products with poor nutrition profiles, and thus may be more effective than PDI labels in promoting improved diets.
Maubach, N. and Hoek, J., "The Effect of Alternative Nutrition Information Formats on Consumers’ Evaluations of a Children’s Breakfast Cereal" (2008). Partnerships, Proof and Practice - International Nonprofit and Social Marketing Conference 2008 - Proceedings. Paper 1.