CNS 2018: Perspectives on implementation and the impact of front-of-package labels
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- Mavra Ahmed, Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
- Alfred Aziz, Health Canada
- Gastón Ares, Sensometrics & Consumer Science, Sensometrics & Consumer Science
- Mary L'Abbé, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Front-Of-Package Labelling: Perspectives On Implementation And The Impact Of Front-Of‐Package Labels On Consumers' Food Choices And Perceptions
Purpose: This symposium evaluates the impact of front-‐of-‐package (FOP) labelling on consumers' food choices, perceptions of healthfulness and purchasing intentions, and food reformulation.
Rationale: Many consumers find it difficult and time-‐consuming to identify healthier foods using only the current nutrition information provided on food packages. With the growing burden of obesity and diet-‐related diseases, FOP nutrition labels may support and enable healthier food choices by consumers and can lead to reformulation of food products by industry. This symposium presents perspectives and evidence from Canada and Uruguay on implementation and the potential impact of consumer-‐friendly FOP labelling as a nutrition intervention that can enable consumers to make healthier food choices. Through this symposium, we hope to disseminate knowledge on the potential of FOP labelling as effective nutrition interventions in promoting healthy behavioural changes and encouraging healthier product reformulations, hence transforming the food environment.
1)To understand the role of FOP labels on food products, including challenges associated with the development and implementation of effective front-‐of-‐ package systems
2)To illustrate the impact of FOP (traffic light, health star rating and 'high in' labels) on consumers' food choices and perceptions of healthfulness in comparison to the current food labelling
3)To facilitate a discussion on comparable effectiveness of various FOP labelling systems on purchasing intentions and consumer understanding
4)To demonstrate the potential of FOP to encourage industry to improve the quality of food supply
5)To address nutrition-‐related public health policies aimed at creating supportive food environments and reducing chronic disease risk.
Mary L'Abbé: Evaluation of different front-of-package nutrition label systems on consumers' food choices and purchase intentions
Front-of-package (FOP) labelling is being widely implemented by governments to help consumers make informed dietary choices. A large number of FOP nutrition labelling systems have been proposed or implemented to communicate nutrition information to consumers, each with unique attributes to assess products' healthiness and to support consumers in making healthier food choices. First, the presentation will explore the role of FOP labelling, including challenges associated with development and implementation. Next the results of an online consumer experimental study (n=1997) examining the strengths and weaknesses of three FOP nutrition label systems (health star ratings; traffic light labels; and 'high-in' symbols) will be presented. The study used a variety of experimental tasks to comprehensively compare these systems, by rating the perceived healthiness and likelihood of purchasing 'healthier' and 'less healthy' products from different product categories, and ranking the relative healthiness of food products. The health stars and traffic light labels appeared to cause the greatest decrease in purchasing intention for less healthy items, particularly among nutritionally ambiguous products. Those who viewed the health stars and traffic light performed better on ranking tasks in identifying the healthiest and least healthy products; performance varied across products. The impact of the labelling systems on perceived healthiness differed greatly depending on products. Consumers rated the 'high-in' symbols as helpful to find on packages and increased their confidence in making food choices. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of each system's strengths identified in this research, and how each system can align with various policy objectives.
Gastón Ares: Consumer perception of nutritional warnings: Insights for policy making
Nutritional warnings have been recently suggested as a simplified front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme to facilitate citizens' ability to identify unhealthful products and discourage their consumption. However, citizen perspective and acceptance of this policy is still under-researched. The aim of the present work is to present an overview of consumer research conducted in the context of the implementation of nutritional warnings in Uruguay. Focus will be placed on consumer understanding of the warnings and their potential effects on food choice. Policy recommendations that should synergistically support the introduction of nutritional warnings and encourage citizens to take them into account when making their food purchases will be discussed.
***Original Source: "2018 Annual Conference", Saturday, May 5, 2018
Last Updated: June 25, 2018
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