Advertisement

P11 Consumer Attention to Facts Up Front Labels on Similar Products with Different Serving Sizes

      Background

      Facts Up Front (FUF) nutrition labels are used by food manufacturers to highlight selected nutrition information on the front of the package. Differences in serving sizes between similar products may go unnoticed by consumers, leading to misinterpretations of the nutritional information displayed in the FUF.

      Objective

      To examine consumer attention to FUF labels on 2 similar cereal products with differing serving sizes.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Utilizing a nationally representative sample, 1,022 adults participated in an online survey.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Participants were shown images of 2 cereals with FUF labels that differed in serving size and nutrient amounts. Attention to the FUF and serving sizes was assessed, and participants were asked comparative questions about the nutrient content of the cereals. Descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regressions were performed.

      Results

      While 64.5% of participants reported looking at the FUF, only 21.3% were correct when asked which of the 2 cereals had the bigger serving size. The majority of participants incorrectly indicated that there were no differences between the cereals with respect to the nutrients presented, though these inaccuracies were less likely among participants who looked at the FUF. What seemed to go unnoticed by most participants were the marked nutritional differences between the products if the servings are equalized to 1 cup. In fact, when the serving sizes are equalized, the cereal with the larger listed serving size (and with seemingly higher amounts of less healthful nutrients such as sugar and sodium) actually had lower amounts of these nutrients in comparison to the cereal with the smaller listed serving size.

      Conclusion

      Attention to differences in the FUF and serving sizes was lacking. Participant inattention to the inequalities in serving sizes between cereals could mean they perceive them as being equal. Significant nutritional differences between products may be obscured by the failure of consumers to take different serving sizes into consideration.
      Funding None.

      Appendix. Supplementary data