Department of Management

A citizen perspective on nutritional warnings as front-of-pack labels: Insights for the design of accompanying policy measures

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  • Gastón Ares, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • María Rosa Curutchet, Instituto Nacional de Alimentación, Uruguay
  • Lucía Antúnez, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Ximena Moratorio, Ministerio de Salud Pública 18 de julio 1892, Uruguay
  • Isabel Bove, Ministerio de Salud Pública 18 de julio 1892, Uruguay

Objective Nutritional warnings have recently been suggested as a simplified front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme to facilitate citizens' ability to identify unhealthful products and discourage their consumption. However, citizens' perspective on this policy is still under-researched. The objective of the present work was to study how citizens perceive nutritional warnings and to evaluate public support of this policy, with the goal of deriving recommendations for the design of policy measures accompanying the introduction of nutritional warnings.Design An online survey with 1416 Uruguayan citizens, aged 18-75 years, 61 % female, was conducted. Participants had to answer a series of questions (open-ended and multiple-choice) related to their perception of warnings as a front-of-package nutrition labelling scheme.Results Participants showed a positive attitude towards nutritional warnings, which were regarded as easy to understand and to identify on food packages. The majority of respondents emphasized that they would take nutritional warnings into account when making their food choices, stating that they would allow them to make informed choices and, consequently, to increase the quality of their diet and their health status. Health motivation appeared as a crucial driver for taking nutritional warnings into consideration.Conclusions A high level of public support for nutritional warnings was observed. Responses can be used to derive a range of recommendations for a policy mix that should synergistically support the introduction of nutritional warnings and encourage citizens to take them into account when making their food purchases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Pages (from-to)3450-3461
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Labelling, Nutrition information, Public policy, Uruguay, Warning labels, INFORMATION, KNOWLEDGE, ULTRA-PROCESSED PRODUCTS, CHILDREN, HEALTHFULNESS, PERCEPTION, IMPACT, FOOD CHOICE, PURCHASES, Humans, Middle Aged, Nutrition Policy, Adult, Surveys and Questionnaires, Food Preferences, Choice Behavior, Food Labeling, Consumer Behavior, Adolescent, Aged

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