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Three labeling schemes – signpost logos, multiple traffic light (MTL) labels, and labels communicating guideline daily amounts (GDA) – dominate the debate on front-of-pack nutrition labeling used to assist consumers in making informed food choices. Although the performance of these labeling schemes has been studied extensively, this has mainly been done with a focus on single labeling schemes within single countries where these labels have already a foothold in the market place. Such a priori familiarity raises issues regarding the generalization of results to other contexts and countries. The present study compares consumer evaluation of nutrition labeling schemes, product choices, and inferred product healthfulness across two markets (UK and the Netherlands) with different front-of-pack labeling histories. Results show that familiarity with the labeling scheme affects self-reported evaluations and usage intentions, but that all labeling schemes are equally effective in stimulating healthful choices. The study further shows evidence that all labels increase the perceived healthfulness of more healthful options and that only MTL and GDA reduce healthfulness perceptions of the less healthful options within an assortment. These results are a first step in further elucidating the underlying cognitive processes involved in consumer evaluation and use of front-of-pack nutrition labeling.
- nutrition information