The Smart Choices front-of-package nutrition label. Influence on perceptions and intake of cereal.
Numerous front-of-package (FOP) nutrition labeling systems exist, but it is unclear if such labels influence behavior. A single-summary label called Smart Choices (SC) appeared briefly on products in the United States in 2009. The current study aimed to evaluate (1) the influence the SC symbol has on the serving and consumption of cereal; and (2) the impact of providing calorie and serving size information on a FOP label. Two hundred and sixteen adults were randomized to a high-sugar breakfast cereal that had either (1) no label; (2) the SC symbol; or (3) a modified SC symbol with serving size information. Participants rated perceptions of healthfulness, taste, and purchase intent, estimated calories per serving and poured and ate the cereal for breakfast. Participants in the SC label conditions were better able to estimate calories per serving, but there were no differences across groups on perceptions of healthfulness, taste, purchase intent, and levels of vitamins, and sugar or amount of cereal poured or consumed. These results suggest that calories per serving information on FOP labels can increase knowledge, but the SC symbol had little impact on behavior. Studies examining FOP label influence on purchasing, consumption, and product reformulation are greatly needed to determine label utility.
Roberto, CA; Shivaram, M; Martinez, O; Boles, C; Harris, JL; Brownell, KD
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