Interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labels. Comparing competing recommendations.
Sommaire de l'article
Many stakeholders support introducing an interpretive front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition label, but disagree over the form it should take. In late 2012, an expert working group established by the New Zealand government recommended the adoption of an untested summary rating system: a Star label. This study used a best-worst scaling choice experiment to estimate how labels featuring the new Star rating, the Multiple Traffic Light (MTL), Daily Intake Guide (DIG), and a no-FOP control affected consumers' choice behaviours and product perceptions. Nutrient-content and health claims were included in the design. We also assessed whether respondents who used more or less information during the choice tasks differed in their selection patterns. Overall, while respondents made broadly similar choices with respect to the MTL and Star labels, the MTL format had a significantly greater impact on depressing preference as a food's nutritional profile became less healthy. Health claims increased rankings of less nutritious options, though this effect was less pronounced when the products featured an MTL. Further, respondents were best able to differentiate products' healthiness with MTL labels. The proposed summary Stars system had less effect on choice patterns than an MTL label and our findings highlight the need for policy makers to ensure that decisions to introduce FOP labels are underpinned by robust research evidence. These results suggest that the proposed summary Stars system will have less effect on shifting food choice patterns than interpretive FOP nutrition label featuring traffic light ratings.