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Impact of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels on Consumer Purchasing Intentions: A Randomized Experiment in Low- and Middle-Income Mexican Adults

Citation

Jáuregui, Alejandra; Vargas-Meza, Jorge; Nieto, Claudia; Contreras-Manzano, Alejandra; Alejandro, Nelson Zacarías; Tolentino-Mayo, Lizbeth; Hall, Marissa G.; & Barquera, Simón (2020). Impact of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels on Consumer Purchasing Intentions: A Randomized Experiment in Low- and Middle-Income Mexican Adults. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 463. PMCID: PMC7137298

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling is a cost-effective strategy to help consumers make informed and healthier food choices. We aimed to investigate the effect of the FOP labels used in the Latin American region on consumers' shopping intentions when prompted to make their choices with specific nutrients-to-limit in mind among low- and middle-income Mexican adults (> 18 y).
METHODS: In this experimental study of an online simulated shopping situation participants (n = 2194) were randomly assigned to one of three labeling conditions: Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA), Multiple Traffic Lights (MTL), or red Warning Labels (WL). Participants were required to view a video explaining how to correctly interpret the assigned label. Primary outcomes were the overall nutritional quality (estimated using the Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion [NPSC] and NPSC baseline score) and mean energy and nutrient content of purchases. Secondary outcomes included shopping time variables. We also evaluated the impact of the labels across food categories (ready-made foods, dairy beverages, non-dairy beverages, salty snacks, and breakfast cereals) and sociodemographic subgroups.
RESULTS: The MTL and the WL led to a better overall nutritional quality of the shopping cart compared to the GDA (p < 0.05). According to the NPSC score, the WL led to a better nutritional quality across breakfast cereals and salty snacks compared to the GDA (p < 0.05); a similar effect was observed for the MTL among non-dairy beverages (p < 0.05). The MTL and the WL required shorter shopping times compared to GDA (p < 0.05). Across all labeling conditions, the nutritional quality of the shopping cart tended to be lower among those with low income, education and nutrition knowledge levels.
CONCLUSION: WL and MTL may foster healthier food choices in a faster way among low- and middle-income groups in Mexico. To produce an equitable impact among consumers of all socioeconomic strata, efforts beyond simply the inclusion of a communication campaign on how to use and interpret FOP labels will be required.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08549-0

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2020

Journal Title

BMC Public Health

Author(s)

Jáuregui, Alejandra
Vargas-Meza, Jorge
Nieto, Claudia
Contreras-Manzano, Alejandra
Alejandro, Nelson Zacarías
Tolentino-Mayo, Lizbeth
Hall, Marissa G.
Barquera, Simón

Article Type

Regular

PMCID

PMC7137298

Continent/Country

Mexico