Department of Management

Comparative performance of three interpretative front-of-pack nutrition labelling schemes: Insights for policy making

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  • Gastón Ares, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Fiorella Varela, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Leandro Machín, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Lucía Antúnez, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Ana Giménez, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • María Rosa Curutchet, Instituto Nacional de Alimentación, Uruguay
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel

Different interpretative front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling schemes have recently been implemented in several countries but it is still unclear which is the most effective. The present work compared three interpretative schemes (Nutri-score, health star rating and nutritional warnings) in terms of attentional capture, processing time, influence on perceived healthfulness and purchase intention of products with different nutritional profile. Two studies were conducted. In the first study, attention to and processing time for interpretation of FOP labels was evaluated using a visual search task with 112 participants. In the second study, an online survey with 892 participants was conducted to evaluate the influence of interpretive FOP labels on purchase intention and perceived healthfulness of a series of products. A between-subjects design was implemented to compare a control condition (without front-of-pack nutrition information) and the three interpretive FOP schemes. The health star rating was found to perform worse than the other two schemes in terms of capturing attention and altering perceived healthfulness and purchase intention. The latter effect depended on the degree of healthfulness of the food products in question, but the effect on consumer behaviour towards unhealthful product categories was more pronounced for the warning label scheme. From a nutrition policy effectiveness point of view, results suggest that nutritional warnings may have advantages over Nutri-score and the health star rating in the context of the current food environment, characterized by the wide availability of products with high content of nutrients associated with non-communicable diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • FOP, Food policy, Health star rating, Nutri-score, Nutrition information, Warnings

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