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Special edition: Front-of-pack nutrition labeling

Front-of-pack poll results: No clear winner (except cynicism…)

2 commentsBy Elaine Watson , 01-Nov-2011
Last updated on 01-Nov-2011 at 13:26 GMT

Research published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 shows Guiding Stars had a positive influence on food purchasing decisions
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 shows Guiding Stars had a positive influence on food purchasing decisions

There is no clear winner in the front-of-pack labeling stakes, according to the results of the latest FoodNavigator-USA poll. Unless you count cynicism…

As you can see from the pie chart below, the industry-backed scheme Facts up Front gained the most votes, but was followed very closely by the Institute of Medicine’s points-based scheme.

Meanwhile, a significant minority of respondents backed alternative points-based schemes based on nutrient density schemes such as the Guiding Stars system or UK-style colored traffic-light labels.

But the largest share of the vote was garnered by the cynics amongst you, who suspect we are kidding ourselves if we believe that any front-of-pack labeling system will drive the kind of wholesale changes in behavior needed to tackle obesity.

Readers were given five options to select from in response to the question: Which front-of-pack scheme will help consumers make informed choices?

  • Facts up Front. Consumers don’t want to be told what to eat.
  • The IOM scheme. Busy shoppers need more guidance.
  • Other points-based schemes that include positive nutrients. eg. Guiding Stars.
  • Traffic-light-type color-coding schemes.
  • We’re kidding ourselves if we think front-of-pack labels will change behavior.

Here’s what you thought:

Click here for an analysis of the pros and cons of the new IOM scheme.

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Number of Respondents?

It will be helpful to know the number of respondents. Interesting results...I would not have expected the Facts-up-Front scheme to garner 25+% of the vote.

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Posted by Raghav Sundar
14 November 2011 | 17h43

non-represntative sample

Any sampling exercise like this needs to know something about those who respond. How many responses? What proportion of those who responded work in the food industry and hence would be expected to favour schemes that did not decrease sales.

Our basic need is for most people to eat less. We therefore need a front of pack scheme to achieve this. It is unlikely that food industry employees would aim to decrease sales of any product and hence would not vote for any scheme that might turn people off purchasing a product.

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Posted by Dr Rosemary Stanton
01 November 2011 | 21h51

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