Effectiveness of Different Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels among Italian Consumers: Results from an Online Randomized Controlled Trial
Sorbonne Paris Nord University, Inserm U1153, Inrae U1125, Cnam, Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN), Epidemiology and Statistics Research Center, University of Paris (CRESS), 93000 Bobigny, France
School of Psychology, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
The George Institute for Global Health, Newtown, Sydney 2042, Australia
Public Health department, Avicenne Hospital, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), 93000 Bobigny, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These two authors contributed equally to this paper.
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082307
Received: 27 May 2020 / Revised: 21 July 2020 / Accepted: 29 July 2020 / Published: 31 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition and Public Health)
In Italy, discussions are currently ongoing to implement a front-of-pack nutrition label (FoPL) while a growing number of European countries are adopting the Nutri-Score. The effectiveness of the Nutri-Score among Italian consumers requires further investigation. This study compared five FoPLs among Italian participants (Health Star Rating system, multiple traffic lights, Nutri-Score, reference intakes, warning symbol) in terms of food choices and understanding of the labels by consumers. In 2019, 1032 Italian consumers completed an online survey in which they were asked to select one product they would likely purchase from a set of three foods with different nutrient profiles and then classify the products within the set according to their nutritional quality, first with no label and then with one of the five FoPLs on the pack. While no significant difference across labels was observed for food choices, the Nutri-Score demonstrated the highest overall performance in helping consumers to correctly rank the products according to their nutritional quality compared to the reference intakes (OR = 2.18 (1.50–3.17), p-value < 0.0001). Our results provide new insights on the effectiveness of the Nutri-Score, which would be a relevant tool to inform Italian consumers on the nutritional quality of food products.