Effects of Different Types of Front-of-Pack Labelling Information on the Healthiness of Food Purchases—A Randomised Controlled Trial
AbstractBackground: Front-of-pack nutrition labelling may support healthier packaged food purchases. Australia has adopted a novel Health Star Rating (HSR) system, but the legitimacy of this choice is unknown. Objective: To define the effects of different formats of front-of-pack labelling on the healthiness of food purchases and consumer perceptions. Design: Individuals were assigned at random to access one of four different formats of nutrition labelling—HSR, multiple traffic light labels (MTL), daily intake guides (DIG), recommendations/warnings (WARN)—or control (the nutrition information panel, NIP). Participants accessed nutrition information by using a smartphone application to scan the bar-codes of packaged foods, while shopping. The primary outcome was healthiness defined by the mean transformed nutrient profile score of packaged foods that were purchased over four weeks. Results: The 1578 participants, mean age 38 years, 84% female recorded purchases of 148,727 evaluable food items. The mean healthiness of the purchases in the HSR group was non-inferior to MTL, DIG, or WARN (all p < 0.001 at 2% non-inferiority margin). When compared to the NIP control, there was no difference in the mean healthiness of purchases for HSR, MTL, or DIG (all p > 0.07), but WARN resulted in healthier packaged food purchases (mean difference 0.87; 95% confidence interval 0.03 to 1.72; p = 0.04). HSR was perceived by participants as more useful than DIG, and easier to understand than MTL or DIG (all p < 0.05). Participants also reported the HSR to be easier to understand, and the HSR and MTL to be more useful, than NIP (all p < 0.03). Conclusions: These real-world data align with experimental findings and provide support for the policy choice of HSR. Recommendation/warning labels warrant further exploration, as they may be a stronger driver of healthy food purchases. View Full-Text
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Neal, B.; Crino, M.; Dunford, E.; Gao, A.; Greenland, R.; Li, N.; Ngai, J.; Ni Mhurchu, C.; Pettigrew, S.; Sacks, G.; Webster, J.; Wu, J.H.Y. Effects of Different Types of Front-of-Pack Labelling Information on the Healthiness of Food Purchases—A Randomised Controlled Trial. Nutrients 2017, 9, 1284.
Neal B, Crino M, Dunford E, Gao A, Greenland R, Li N, Ngai J, Ni Mhurchu C, Pettigrew S, Sacks G, Webster J, Wu JHY. Effects of Different Types of Front-of-Pack Labelling Information on the Healthiness of Food Purchases—A Randomised Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2017; 9(12):1284.Chicago/Turabian Style
Neal, Bruce; Crino, Michelle; Dunford, Elizabeth; Gao, Annie; Greenland, Rohan; Li, Nicole; Ngai, Judith; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Pettigrew, Simone; Sacks, Gary; Webster, Jacqui; Wu, Jason H.Y. 2017. "Effects of Different Types of Front-of-Pack Labelling Information on the Healthiness of Food Purchases—A Randomised Controlled Trial." Nutrients 9, no. 12: 1284.
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