Oral Presentation ANZOS-ASLM-ICCR 2019

The relative effectiveness of five front-of-pack food labelling systems among Australian consumers (#7)

Simone Pettigrew 1 , Zenobia Talati 1 , Manon Egnell 2 , Serge Hercberg 2 , Chantal Julia 2
  1. Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. Equipe de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle (EREN), Université Paris 13, Paris, France

Food labelling is recognised as an important mechanism for ensuring consumers have accurate nutrition information at the point of purchase and/or point of consumption. Over the last 15 years, Australia has had several food labelling systems, including the Daily Intake Guide and Health Star Rating systems used on food products and the Traffic Light food classification system used for school canteen menus. Previous Australian research indicates that of these labelling systems, the Health Star Rating has the most potential to inform consumers of the relative healthiness of products within food categories (e.g., among different breakfast cereals) and influence choices towards healthier options. However, other labelling systems are emerging globally, notably the French Nutri-score system and Chilean warning labels. The aim of the present study was to assess the relative performance of these 5 front-of-pack food labelling (FoPL) systems in the Australian context. An online survey featuring mock packs for breakfast cereals, cakes, and pizzas was administered to 1,000 Australians aged 18+ years. Respondents were randomised to one of the five FoPL conditions that involved estimating relative product healthiness (“understanding” outcome) and made a product selection (“choice” outcome) based on products shown without and then with their allocated FoPL. Across the 3 product categories, the multi-colour summary indicator Nutri-score was found to be the most effective FoPL for enhancing respondents’ understanding and choice outcomes, while the non-interpretive Daily Intake Guide typically scored lowest. Given the attributes of the most effective Nutri-score FoPL, these results suggest the potential to increase the usefulness of the Health Star Rating system by (i) ensuring the summary indicator (i.e., the star rating) is large enough to be readily visible on packs and (ii) adding colour to more quickly and effectively convey nutrition information to consumers.