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Relative Impact of Nutritional Warnings and Other Label Features on Cereal Bar Healthfulness Evaluations

Centurión, Marcia, Machín, Leandro, Ares, Gastón
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.7 pp. 850-856
analysis of variance, experimental design, females, fiber content, food industry, food labeling, fruits, marketing strategies, saturated fats, sugars
To investigate the relative influence of nutritional warnings and 2 marketing strategies commonly used in food labels, nutrient claims, and fruit images on consumers’ healthfulness judgments.Labels of cereal bars were designed according to a full factorial design with 3 2-level variables: images of fruit (with vs without), nutrient claims about the fiber content (with vs without), and nutritional warnings about excessive content of sugar and saturated fat (with vs without).Experiment conducted in Montevideo, Uruguay.One hundred Uruguayan people, 75% female, aged 18–56 years.Healthfulness perception and eye-tracking variables.The researchers used ANOVA to evaluate the influence of the experimental design's variables 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 healthfulness judgments.Findings of the current 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.