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Relative impact of nutritional warnings and other label features on healthfulness evaluations: Case study with snack bars

Centurión, Marcia, Machín, Leandro, Ares, Gastón
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019
case studies, experimental design, females, fiber content, food industry, food labeling, fruits, marketing strategies, saturated fats, sugars, variance, Uruguay
To investigate the relative influence nutritional warnings and 2 marketing strategies commonly included on food labels, nutrient claims and fruit images, on consumers’ healthfulness judgements.Labels of cereal bars were designed following a full factorial design with 3 2-level variables: image of fruit (with vs. without), nutrient claim on fiber content (with vs. without), and nutritional warnings on excessive content of sugar and saturated fat (with vs. without).Experiment conducted in Montevideo (Uruguay)100 Uruguayan people (75% female, ages ranging between 18 and 56 years old).Healthfulness perception and eye-tracking variables.Analysis of variance was used to evaluate the influence of the variables of the experimental design on perceived healthfulness and eye-tracking measures.Nutritional warnings caught participants’ attention and reduced the amount of visual attention needed to evaluate healthfulness. Participants mainly relied on nutritional warnings to make their healthfulness judgements.Findings of the present work confirm the potential of nutritional warnings to influence consumers’ healthfulness perception, overriding the effect of other label cues used by the food industry to convey the concept of healthfulness.