Note: See below reminder for Today’s Food Day Supermarket Tour
Here’s an interesting piece of research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association: People don’t really read nutrition labels as much as they report they do. Researchers used sophisticated computer software to track the eye movement of 200 participants who viewed various product info on a computer screen:
In a simulated grocery shopping exercise, 203 participants observed 64 different grocery products displayed on a computer monitor. Each screen contained three elements, the well-known Nutrition Facts label, a picture and list of ingredients, and a description of the product with price and quantity information. These three elements were presented so that one third of the participants each saw the Nutrition Facts label on the left, right, and center. Each subject was asked whether they would consider buying the product. Participants were aware that their eye movements would be tracked, but unaware that the study focus was nutrition information. Read more…
Only one third of the people that said they read the nutrition info actually did!!
The info that appeared at the top of the nutrition label was read more often than the info at the bottom.
When the nutrition info was placed in the center of the screen (vs. right or left side), it was read twice as often.
The conclusion, according to researchers:
Nutrition Facts label position within a viewing area and position of specific components on a label relate to viewing. Eye tracking is a valuable technology for evaluating consumers’ attention to nutrition information, informing nutrition labeling policy (eg, front-of-pack labels), and designing labels that best support healthy dietary decisions.
When thinking about the proposed front of pack nutrition labeling initiatives coming from both industry and government, the stakes are very high. Will the info presented include positive datapoints or negative ones? Knowing that a consumer reads only one or two data before deciding, one can appreciate the efforts each side is putting into this debate.
To our readers in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Fooducate founder Hemi Weingarten will be conducting a supermarket tour Today, October 24, 2011, AKA Food Day. (FREE!
- Walk through the aisles and learn how to read a nutrition label and ingredient lists.
- Learn about food marketing tricks and nutrition labeling loopholes.
- See that buying healthy food is not as expensive as you’d think.
When: TODAY, Monday Oct 24, 2 pm (estimated 40 minutes)
Where: Safeway in Foster City - 921 East Hillsdale Boulevard, Foster City, CA (map). We’ll meet at the entrance to the Supermarket. Look for the guy with the Fooducate T-shirt.