Evidence from a choice experiment involving eye-tracking
In two eye-tracking studies, we explored whether and how attention to nutrition information mediates consumers’ choice. Consumers had to select either the healthiest option or a product of their preference within an assortment. On each product a particular label (Choices logo, monochrome GDA label, or colorcoded GDA label) communicated the product’s nutrient profile. In study 1, participants had to select from 4 products differentiated, in addition to the nutrition information, by flavor (strawberry, muesli, apple, chocolate; varied within participants) and brand (local vs. global, varied between participants). Study 2 further explored brand effect within-participants, and thus only 2 flavors (strawberry, chocolate) were presented within an assortment. Actual choice made, response time and eye movements were recorded. Respondents fixated longer and more often on products with color-coded GDAs label than on products with monochrome GDAs or Choices logo. A health goal resulted in longer and more frequent fixations in comparison to a preference goal. Products with color-coded and monochrome GDAs had the highest likelihood of being chosen, and this effect was related to the attention-getting property of the label (irrespective of brand and flavor effects). The product fixated most had the highest likelihood of being chosen. These results suggest that attention mediates the effect of nutrition labels on choice.