248122 Examining Consumers' Understanding of Front-of-Package Nutrition Information Systems

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Christina A. Roberto, MS, MPhil, MPhil , Department of Psychology/Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Marie Bragg, MS , Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Nicole Novak, MS , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Marissa J. Seamans, BA , Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Kelly D. Brownell, PhD , Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Introduction: The food industry recently announced a new front-of-package (FOP) labeling system, which will be implemented in 2011 prior to the release of recommendations by the FDA and IOM. Methods: We conducted two web-based studies testing consumer understanding of different FOP labeling systems. In the first study, adult participants (N=511) were randomized to one of five labeling systems: 1) No Label; 2) Multiple Traffic Light with problem nutrients (MTL+PN); 3) MTL+PN and daily caloric requirement information (MTL+PN Cal); 4) TL with specific problem nutrients based on food category (TL+SN); or 5) the “Choices” logo. Participants were then asked to select the healthier of two food products and rate individual products on aspects such as taste, healthfulness, and intent to purchase. In the second study, the new industry system was compared to different versions of the TL system. Results: Results from the first study revealed that those in the MTL+PN, MTL+PN Cal, and Choices conditions were significantly more likely to correctly identify the healthier of two products compared to those in the control condition (p<.05), but did not significantly differ from one another. However, the TL+SN group did not differ from the control group (p=.112). Perceptions of product taste did not differ across label conditions (p=.175). Additional findings from this study and the second study testing the industry system will be presented. Discussion: The findings from this research can help inform the current debate among the White House, FDA, IOM and food industry on the best approach to FOP labeling.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare different front-of-package labeling systems, including the Traffic Light, Choices and food industry systems. Evaluate the pros and cons of different front-of-package labeling systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an advanced doctoral student in Epidemiology and Public Health and Clinical Psychology who has published research on nutrition labeling. I am currently conducting several studies on front-of-package labeling systems.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.