In the present study we investigated consumers’ visual attention to nutrition information on food products using an indirect instrument, an eye tracker. In addition, we looked at whether people with a health motivation focus on nutrition information on food products more than people with a taste motivation.
Respondents were instructed to choose one of five cereals for either the kindergarten (health motivation) or the student cafeteria (taste motivation). The eye tracker measured their visual attention during this task. Then respondents completed a short questionnaire.
Laboratory of the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Videos and questionnaires from thirty-two students (seventeen males; mean age 24·91 years) were analysed.
Respondents with a health motivation viewed the nutrition information on the food products for longer and more often than respondents with a taste motivation. Health motivation also seemed to stimulate deeper processing of the nutrition information. The student cafeteria group focused primarily on the other information and did this for longer and more often than the health motivation group. Additionally, the package design affected participants’ nutrition information search.
Two factors appear to influence whether people pay attention to nutrition information on food products: their motivation and the product’s design. If the package design does not sufficiently facilitate the localization of nutrition information, health motivation can stimulate consumers to look for nutrition information so that they may make a more deliberate food choice.
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