Impact of food labels

Nutritional information on packaged foods encourage healthier eating and can change consumer habits, according to a new study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The study assessed the effectiveness of multiple types of food labels and found that these approaches can impact some targets, but not others, for both consumer and industry behavior. The study reviewed two million unique observations, including consumer reported dietary intakes, purchases, and sales receipts. The research found label information reduces consumer intake of calories by 6.6 percent, fat by 10.6 percent, and other unhealthy food options by 13 percent. Labeling also increased consumers' vegetable consumption by 13.5 percent. In contrast, labeling did not significantly impact consumer intakes of other targets such as total carbohydrate, total protein, saturated fat, fruits, whole grains, or other healthy options.

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