A recently published study by Sinne Smed et al. (Public Health Nutrition, 2019) investigated the effects of the introduction of the Choice logo in the Netherlands on consumer purchasing behaviour. Despite the abundance of front-of-pack labelling systems, we know little about their effects on purchase behaviour in real market conditions. This is mainly due to the fact that many studies have focused on consumers’ attitudes and not on actual purchases.
Smed and her team collected total food purchases of 7,216 Dutch households during a period of 4 months. Findings showed that displaying the Choices logo on their labels increased the volume share of dairy products and sauces. However, consumers were less influenced by the logo when choosing among food products considered healthy (e.g. fruits and vegetables) or when the healthier version of a product could be perceived as less tasty (e.g. fats). These results are particularly interesting because they suggest that consumers can be influenced by their pre-judgement about a specific food and that they rely more on a FoP logo when they feel they need guidance. Future educational campaigns should help consumers understand that products that are traditionally marketed as healthy can also be high in sugar or unhealthy fats.
Source: Smed S., Edenbrandt AK. and Jansen L. The effects of voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labels on volume shares of products: the case of the Dutch Choices. Public Health Nutr. 2019 Jun 24:1-12.