The objectives of the study were (a) to examine which information and design elements on dairy product packages operate as cues in consumer evaluations of product healthfulness, and (b) to measure the degree to which consumers voluntarily attend to these elements during product choice. Visual attention was measured by means of eye-tracking. Task (free viewing, product healthfulness evaluation, and purchase likelihood evaluation) and product (five different yoghurt products) were varied in a mixed within-between subjects design. The free viewing condition served as a baseline against which increases or decreases in attention during product healthfulness evaluation and purchase likelihood evaluation were assessed. The analysis revealed that the only element operating as a health cue during product healthfulness evaluation was the nutrition label. The information cues used during purchase likelihood evaluation were the name of the product category and the nutrition label. Taken together, the results suggest that the only information element that consumers consistently utilize as a health cue is the nutrition label and that only a limited amount of attention is devoted to read nutrition labels during purchase likelihood evaluations. The study also revealed that the probability that a consumer will read the nutrition label during the purchase decision process is associated with gender, body mass index and health motivation.
Journal of Eyetracking, Visual Cognition and Emotion, 2011, Vol 1, Issue 1, p. 59-63