Nutrition Marketing on Food Labels

Published:January 22, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2008.11.002

      Abstract

      Objective

      This research sought to determine how often nutrition marketing is used on labels of foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium, and/or sugar.

      Design and Setting

      All items packaged with food labels (N = 56,900) in all 6 grocery stores in Grand Forks, ND were surveyed.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Marketing strategy, nutrient label information, if the product was fruit/or milk based, and target age.

      Analysis

      Frequency distributions were computed.

      Results

      Forty-nine percent of all products contained nutrition marketing and of those, 48% had both nutrition marketing and were high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar (11%, 17%, and 31% respectively). Seventy-one percent of products marketed to children had nutrition marketing. Of those, 59% were high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar content, with more than half being high in sugar. The most commonly used nutrition marketing statements were “good source of calcium”, “reduced/low/fat free”, and “food company's health symbol”.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Nutrition marketing is commonly used on products high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar and is more often used on products marketed toward children than products marketed toward adults. Current food industry symbols may not be helping consumers select foods low in saturated fat, sodium or sugar.

      Key Words

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