1 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management - MAPP - Centre for Research on Value Creation in the Food Sector, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Purpose As part of a larger project aiming at improving healthy food choice among consumers, four studies were carried out to identify packaging cues that communicate product healthfulness. Methods Study 1 was an eye tracking experiment using a 5x3 group mixed design where the stimuli (five different dairy products) were varied within subjects and the viewing task (free viewing, product healthfulness evaluation, purchase likelihood evaluation) was varied between subjects. As a follow-up, three more studies were carried out using verbal response measures to assess perceived product healthfulness and purchase likelihood. Study 2 used a 3x2x2 group mixed design manipulating product images (control images, health-related images, exercise-related images), brand (control brand, health association brand), and color scheme (control color scheme, green health-association color scheme). Study 3 was a 2x2 group mixed design manipulating health claims (absent, present) and taste claims (absent, present). Study 4 was a four-group between-subjects design manipulating food labels (a national organic label, EU organic label, a national keyhole label [indicating product healthfulness], a combination of all labels). Results The only elements operating as health cues were the nutrition label and the organic label. The information cues used during purchase evaluation were the product category name and the nutrition label. Results also revealed that the probability a consumer will read the nutrition label is associated with gender, body mass index, and individual differences in health motivation. Conclusion Only a few highly familiar forms of food and nutrition labels have an effect on consumer attitudes and evaluations of healthfulness.