The aim of this study is to evaluate different Front-Of-Package labeling systems to determine which may lead consumers to make healthier purchasing decisions and increase consumer comprehension of product healthfulness. RTI Interntational has developed a virtual store environment, iSHOPPE™, which is a web-based three-dimensional consumer research tool that provides the benefit of having a realistic interface similar to a real shopping experience while allowing researchers to manipulate and control the study environment. This study proposes to evaluate the effect of four different label conditions—evaluative labels, nutrient-specific labels, Institute of Medicine hybrid labels, and a no-label control condition—on parents’ purchasing decisions during a shopping task using the iSHOPPE™ virtual store environment. Participants, who will be lower-income parents with children ages 4 to 12, will be randomly assigned to one of the label conditions, and their purchasing decisions will be assessed using an index of healthy purchases created using the Nutrient Profile Model, an algorithm that categorizes foods based on their nutritional composition. Participant comprehension of product healthfulness will be measured by calculating the difference between percevied healthfulness and objective healthfulness as determined by the Nutrient Profile Model. Moderating effects including time constraints, motivation, and health knowledge will also be examined.
Evaluating Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels on Low-Income Parents’ Comprehension of Product Healthfulness and on Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions
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