Department of Management

How Can We Motivate People to Use Nutritional Warnings in Decision Making? Citizen Co-Created Insights for the Development of Communication Campaigns

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  • Gastón Ares, Universidad de la República
  • ,
  • Leandro Machín, Universidad de la República
  • ,
  • Leticia Vidal, Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • Tobias Otterbring
  • María Rosa Curutchet, Instituto Nacional de Alimentación
  • ,
  • Ana Giménez, Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
  • Isabel Bove, UNICEF Uruguay
Nutritional warnings are intended to enable citizens to make informed choice by clearly identifying food products with excessive content of nutrients associated with noncommunicable diseases. The efficacy of this public policy is expected to improve if accompanied by communication campaigns that raise awareness of the existence of nutritional warnings, as well as encourage citizens to take them into account in decision making. Because ordinary citizens have been shown to generate significantly more creative and valuable ideas than advanced users and professional developers, the aim of the present work was to obtain qualitative, citizen co-created insights for the design of a communication campaign. An online study was conducted with 518 Uruguayan citizens, recruited using a Facebook advertisement. Participants were asked to answer a series of open-ended questions about how they would encourage other people to use the warnings for making their food choices, as well as the key contents of a communication campaign. Responses were analyzed using content analysis. Results showed that, according to the participants’ accounts, an effective public awareness campaign aimed at promoting the use of nutritional warnings in decision making should include three main concepts: (a) position warnings as a cue to action for improving eating habits by enabling informed choices; (b) emphasize the benefits of using the warnings for avoiding consumption of unhealthy food and, consequently, achieving a healthier diet and an improvement in health status and quality of life; and (c) increase the perceived susceptibility and severity of the negative consequences of consumption of foods with excessive content of sugar, fat, and sodium. A communication campaign based on these key concepts could contribute to increasing the efficacy of nutritional warnings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1090198119889086
JournalHealth Education & Behavior
Pages (from-to)321–331
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • FOP, Uruguay, behavior change, front-of-pack nutrition labelling, nutrition, public policy, qualitative research

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