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Perception of front-of-pack labels according to social characteristics, nutritional knowledge and food purchasing habits

  • Caroline Méjean (a1), Pauline Macouillard (a1), Sandrine Péneau (a1), Serge Hercberg (a1) (a2) and Katia Castetbon (a2)...
Abstract
Objective

To identify patterns of perception of front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels and to determine social factors, nutritional knowledge and attention to packaging features related to such patterns.

Design

Cross-sectional. Perception was measured using indicators of understanding and acceptability of three simple FOP labels (the ‘Green Tick’, the logo of the French Nutrition and Health Programme (PNNS logo) and ‘simple traffic lights’ (STL)) and two detailed formats (‘multiple traffic lights’ (MTL) and the ‘colour range’ logo (CR)). Associations of perception patterns with individual characteristics were examined using χ2 tests.

Setting

Data from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

Subjects

A total of 38 763 adults.

Results

Four perception patterns emerged. Poorly educated individuals were most often found in groups favouring simple formats. The ‘favourable to CR’ group had a high rate of men and older persons. Poor nutritional knowledge was more frequent in the ‘favourable to STL’ group, while individuals with substantial knowledge were proportionally more numerous in the ‘favourable to MTL’ group. The ‘favourable to STL’ group more frequently self-reported noting price and marketing characteristics during purchasing, while the ‘favourable to MTL’ and ‘favourable to CR’ groups declared more interest in nutritional information. The ‘favourable to Green Tick and PNNS logo’ group self-reported paying closer attention to claims and quality guarantee labels.

Conclusions

The ‘favourable to MTL’ cluster was most frequently represented in our survey. However, simple FOP formats may be most appropriate for increasing awareness of healthy eating among targeted groups with poor nutritional knowledge and little interest in the nutritional quality of packaged foods.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email c.mejean@uren.smbh.univ-paris13.fr
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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