Is simpler always better? Consumer evaluations of front-of-package nutrition symbols.

Consumers of packaged goods products in the U.S. recently have faced an onslaught of front-ofpackage (FOP) nutrition symbols and icons, including the controversial 'Smart Choices' single summary indicator. In a between-subjects experiment with 520 adult consumers, the authors compare effects of the Smart Choices (SC) icon, the more complex Traffic Light - Guideline Daily Amounts icon (TL-GDA), and a no FOP icon control for a nutritionally-moderate food that qualifies for the SC icon. Drawing from principles of heuristic processing and halo effects, the authors predict and find that the SC icon can lead to positive (and potentially misleading) nutrient evaluations and product healthfulness when compared to the TL-GDA icon or no FOP icon control. The authors also find that nutrition consciousness is more likely to moderate effects related to the Nutrition Facts Panel than the FOP nutrition icon information. Implications are offered for public health officials, nutrition researchers, and food manufacturers, as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considers frontof package nutrition alternatives for use in the U.S.

Main Author: Andrews, J.
Other Authors: Burton, Scot., Kees, Jeremy.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2011
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