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Misunderstanding of Front-Of-Package Nutrition Information on US Food Products.

Miller LM, Cassady DL, Beckett LA, Applegate EA, Wilson MD, Gibson TN, Ellwood K - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Negative correlations between attention to calories, fat, and sodium and accuracy indicated that consumers over-relied on these nutrients.Although relatively little attention was allocated to fiber and sugar, associations between attention and accuracy were positive.Attention to vitamin D showed no association to accuracy, indicating confusion surrounding what constitutes a meaningful change across products.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Front-of-package nutrition symbols (FOPs) are presumably readily noticeable and require minimal prior nutrition knowledge to use. Although there is evidence to support this notion, few studies have focused on Facts Up Front type symbols which are used in the US. Participants with varying levels of prior knowledge were asked to view two products and decide which was more healthful. FOPs on packages were manipulated so that one product was more healthful, allowing us to assess accuracy. Attention to nutrition information was assessed via eye tracking to determine what if any FOP information was used to make their decisions. Results showed that accuracy was below chance on half of the comparisons despite consulting FOPs. Negative correlations between attention to calories, fat, and sodium and accuracy indicated that consumers over-relied on these nutrients. Although relatively little attention was allocated to fiber and sugar, associations between attention and accuracy were positive. Attention to vitamin D showed no association to accuracy, indicating confusion surrounding what constitutes a meaningful change across products. Greater nutrition knowledge was associated with greater accuracy, even when less attention was paid. Individuals, particularly those with less knowledge, are misled by calorie, sodium, and fat information on FOPs.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Front-of-Package (FOP) symbols for cereals (top) and frozen entrées (bottom).
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pone.0125306.g001: Front-of-Package (FOP) symbols for cereals (top) and frozen entrées (bottom).

Mentions: Recent research indicates that consumers rely equally on healthfulness and taste when choosing foods to buy [1]. This could indicate a greater potential for individuals to take advantage of front-of-package nutrition symbols (FOPs), which have appeared more frequently on food packages over the last 10 years [2]. FOPs summarize key nutritional aspects of packaged foods based on information in the Nutrition Facts panel (NFP) including amounts, and where available, percent daily value (%DV) per serving. Although there are a variety of systems [2], FOPs in the US typically include calories, %DV for vitamins and minerals, and weight plus %DV for a small set of nutrients (see Fig 1 for examples). Unlike the more detailed Nutrition Facts panels appearing on the back of food packages, FOPs are not required on packaged foods in the US nor is the format regulated. Moreover, FOPs do not attempt to convey the specific recommendations of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans to the same extent as do NFPs.


Misunderstanding of Front-Of-Package Nutrition Information on US Food Products.

Miller LM, Cassady DL, Beckett LA, Applegate EA, Wilson MD, Gibson TN, Ellwood K - PLoS ONE (2015)

Front-of-Package (FOP) symbols for cereals (top) and frozen entrées (bottom).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4414362&req=5

pone.0125306.g001: Front-of-Package (FOP) symbols for cereals (top) and frozen entrées (bottom).
Mentions: Recent research indicates that consumers rely equally on healthfulness and taste when choosing foods to buy [1]. This could indicate a greater potential for individuals to take advantage of front-of-package nutrition symbols (FOPs), which have appeared more frequently on food packages over the last 10 years [2]. FOPs summarize key nutritional aspects of packaged foods based on information in the Nutrition Facts panel (NFP) including amounts, and where available, percent daily value (%DV) per serving. Although there are a variety of systems [2], FOPs in the US typically include calories, %DV for vitamins and minerals, and weight plus %DV for a small set of nutrients (see Fig 1 for examples). Unlike the more detailed Nutrition Facts panels appearing on the back of food packages, FOPs are not required on packaged foods in the US nor is the format regulated. Moreover, FOPs do not attempt to convey the specific recommendations of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans to the same extent as do NFPs.

Bottom Line: Negative correlations between attention to calories, fat, and sodium and accuracy indicated that consumers over-relied on these nutrients.Although relatively little attention was allocated to fiber and sugar, associations between attention and accuracy were positive.Attention to vitamin D showed no association to accuracy, indicating confusion surrounding what constitutes a meaningful change across products.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Front-of-package nutrition symbols (FOPs) are presumably readily noticeable and require minimal prior nutrition knowledge to use. Although there is evidence to support this notion, few studies have focused on Facts Up Front type symbols which are used in the US. Participants with varying levels of prior knowledge were asked to view two products and decide which was more healthful. FOPs on packages were manipulated so that one product was more healthful, allowing us to assess accuracy. Attention to nutrition information was assessed via eye tracking to determine what if any FOP information was used to make their decisions. Results showed that accuracy was below chance on half of the comparisons despite consulting FOPs. Negative correlations between attention to calories, fat, and sodium and accuracy indicated that consumers over-relied on these nutrients. Although relatively little attention was allocated to fiber and sugar, associations between attention and accuracy were positive. Attention to vitamin D showed no association to accuracy, indicating confusion surrounding what constitutes a meaningful change across products. Greater nutrition knowledge was associated with greater accuracy, even when less attention was paid. Individuals, particularly those with less knowledge, are misled by calorie, sodium, and fat information on FOPs.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus