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Open AccessArticle

Are Front-of-Package Warning Labels More Effective at Communicating Nutrition Information than Traffic-Light Labels? A Randomized Controlled Experiment in a Brazilian Sample

1
Center for Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition (NUPENS), Faculty of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 715-Cerqueira César, São Paulo 01246-904, Brazil
2
Brazilian Institute for Consumer’s Defense (Idec), R. Desembargador Guimarães, 21-Água Branca, São Paulo 05002-000, Brazil
3
Research Group of Digital and Information Design, Department of Design, Federal University of Paraná, Rua General Cameiro, 460, Curitiba 80060-050, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060688
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
Background: Brazil is currently debating the implementation of front-of-package labels. This study tested if Warning labels (WLs) improved consumer understanding, perceptions, and purchase intentions compared to Traffic-Light labels (TLLs) in 1607 Brazilian adults. Methods: In this online, randomized controlled experiment participants saw images of 10 products and answered questions twice—once in a no-label, control condition and then again in a randomly assigned label condition. The relative differences in responses between WLs and TLLs between control and label conditions were estimated using one-way ANOVAs or Chi-square tests. Results: Presenting WLs on products compared to TLLs helped participants: (i) improve their understanding of excess nutrient content (27.0% versus 8.2%, p < 0.001); (ii) improve their ability to identify the healthier product (24.6% versus 3.3%, p < 0.001); (iii) decrease perceptions of product healthfulness; and (iv) correctly identify healthier products (14.0% versus 6.9%, p < 0.001), relative to the control condition. With WLs, there was also an increase in the percentage of people: (v) expressing an intention to purchase the relatively healthier option (16.1% versus 9.8%, p < 0.001); and (vi) choosing not to buy either product (13.0% versus 2.9%, p < 0.001), relative to the control condition. The participants in the WL condition had significantly more favorable opinions of the labels compared to those in the TLL group. Conclusions: WLs would be more effective, compared to the TLL, at improving consumer food choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: warning labels; traffic-light labels; randomized controlled experiment; Brazil; front-of-package labels; health promotion warning labels; traffic-light labels; randomized controlled experiment; Brazil; front-of-package labels; health promotion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Khandpur, N.; Sato, P.D.M.; Mais, L.A.; Martins, A.P.B.; Spinillo, C.G.; Garcia, M.T.; Rojas, C.F.U.; Jaime, P.C. Are Front-of-Package Warning Labels More Effective at Communicating Nutrition Information than Traffic-Light Labels? A Randomized Controlled Experiment in a Brazilian Sample. Nutrients 2018, 10, 688. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060688

AMA Style

Khandpur N, Sato PDM, Mais LA, Martins APB, Spinillo CG, Garcia MT, Rojas CFU, Jaime PC. Are Front-of-Package Warning Labels More Effective at Communicating Nutrition Information than Traffic-Light Labels? A Randomized Controlled Experiment in a Brazilian Sample. Nutrients. 2018; 10(6):688. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060688

Chicago/Turabian Style

Khandpur, Neha; Sato, Priscila D.M.; Mais, Laís A.; Martins, Ana P.B.; Spinillo, Carla G.; Garcia, Mariana T.; Rojas, Carlos F.U.; Jaime, Patrícia C. 2018. "Are Front-of-Package Warning Labels More Effective at Communicating Nutrition Information than Traffic-Light Labels? A Randomized Controlled Experiment in a Brazilian Sample" Nutrients 10, no. 6: 688. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060688

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