The Influence of Labels on Consumer Choice - US - May 2010
The proportion of the population watching their diet has risen dramatically in recent years. At present, about half of American adults are watching their diet in an effort to limit calories and avoid potentially harmful ingredients. Along with the increased interest in health and wellness has come a rise in demand for labeling systems that help people more easily identify foods and beverages that are in line with their healthy lifestyle aspirations.
At odds with this, many companies make unsubstantiated claims on their products about healthfulness, resulting in a 23% increase in the number of warning letters from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during 2008-09 that were sent to companies that violated labeling rules. The FDA also claims that the number of letters issued for false advertising doubled during the same period. In line with these developments, Mintel’s research reveals that many consumers want nutritional information but are suspicious of claims made by companies.
Given the strong demand for nutritional labeling and a renewed focus on the issue within the FDA, Mintel conducted a comprehensive study on the influence of labels on consumers’ choices.
More specifically, the study addresses the following topics:
- Major changes that have occurred within the FDA in the last two years in relation to nutritional labeling
- The extent to which nutritional information and labels influence consumers’ choices about what types of foods and brands they purchase
- Types of front-of-package (FOP) labeling systems that have been developed in recent years and the extent to which these systems are in line with consumers’ preferences
- The types of labels (e.g., simple, colorful, cute, childlike) that consumers prefer and why
- Claims that resonate most and least with consumers
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