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Label 'clutter' means consumers don't pay attention to nutrition information, say researchers

By Nathan Gray+

11-Jun-2013
Last updated on 11-Jun-2013 at 13:46 GMT

Want on pack nutrition information to be noticed? Then make sure your packaging isn't suffering from 'information clutter', say researchers.

The density and design of nutritional information on food and beverage packaging plays a vital role in whether consumers pay attention to nutritional information, according to new research that suggests policy makers and food producers need to optimise packaging design layouts to help consumers easily find relevant nutrition information.

Writing in Food Policy, the research team present findings from a study that explored how the information context in which a nutrition label appears on a food packages affects attention to the nutrition label.

Led by Dr Svetlana Bialkova from the University of Twente in The Netherlands, the team found that the amount of attention given to the information given on food packaging decreases as the number of design elements and additional information increases.

"This effect is modulated by the number, type and chromaticity of the nutrition label itself," explained the researchers, adding that while a single nutrition label may be affected by 'information clutter', combined labels (combining GDAs with a health logo) often stand out in the crowd without being affected.

"These findings could have a huge impact for optimising the design of nutrition labels in the context of food packages, both from an industry and from a regulatory perspective," said the authors.

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