Impact Of Labeling, Point-Of-Purchase Signs On Food Choices

Recent studies try to provide an insight on the behavior of people towards food choices. More particularly, two studies have recently been published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that show how nutritional labeling of products and point-of-purchase signs may influence food choices.

A study conducted by the researchers from Columbia University delved on how people may be using nutritional labeling on food product and whether it may affect the way the choose food. The researchers used a nationally representative sample of Us adults who participated in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES. The researchers found that 61.6 percent of the participants used the nutritional facts panel, 51.6 percent used the list of ingredients while 47.2 percent read the serving size and 43.8 percent reads at least the health claims before deciding to buy a food product.

There was a significant difference between food label users and non-users in terms of mean nutrient intake of total calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar, sodium and dietary fiber. Food label users reported healthier nutrient consumption as compared to non-label users.

In another study, researchers from the San Jose State University conducted a pilot study on a Point-of-Purchase (POP) program and its possible influence on buying behavior among a multi-ethnic college population shopping at a convenience store on campus. The study took 11 weeks, starting with collecting and analyzing baseline study sales data taken for six weeks during the Fall 2008 semester. The “Eat Smart” program materials that include the “Fuel your Life” logo were then placed in the convenience store study venue where another round of sales data were then collected for five weeks in the middle of the Spring 2009 semester. Certain healthful items on the store were tagged, with no significant difference in terms of price between the tagged and the untagged items.

The study showed that there was a slight increase in the overall sales of the tagged items as a result of using a logo to help students identify healthful food choices. Although there was no significant difference in terms of total sales before and after the intervention, it does indicate that using signs to help consumers identify healthier food options in stores and supermarkets may help influence their decision on food purchases.



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