Why Improved Nutritional Labels May Not Help Combat Obesity

Paul Bloom, Duke University, USA
Lisa Bolton, Wharton, USA
We argue that the effectiveness of more accessible and easier-to-digest nutrition labels depends on (1) consumers’ attitudes and ambivalence toward less healthy foods, (2) the way consumers process information from newer, more vivid labels, and (3) the types of messages consumers are exposed to along with the labels. In three studies, we find that improved labels either have no effects on non-ambivalent consumers or lead them to “economize” on their search for information and not check the more informative nutrition facts labels. However, ambivalent consumers are more eager for information to resolve their ambivalence and therefore respond to improved nutritional labels with healthier choices.
[ to cite ]:
Paul Bloom and Lisa Bolton (2007) ,"Why Improved Nutritional Labels May Not Help Combat Obesity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 647-700.