An Experimental Study Evaluating the Influence of Front-of-Package Warning Labels on Adolescent’s Purchase Intention of Processed Food Products

Lorena Saavedra-Garcia, Miguel Moscoso-Porras, Francisco Diez-Canseco

Research output: Contribution to journalOriginal Articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Front-of-package warning labels (WLs) are among the public health policies adopted by some countries, mainly in Latin-America, to tackle childhood obesity; however, their impact is still under review. The aim of this study was to assess, using an experimental design, whether WLs influence purchase intention of processed foods and identification of the healthiest products among adolescents in Peru, in May 2019, just before WLs mandatory implementation. Four hundred forty-nine adolescents from two public schools were randomly assigned to an experimental group (received three different processed products with either zero, one or two WLs, informing if they were high in sugar, sodium and/or saturated fats) or a control group (received the same products but unlabeled). Participants chose which product they would buy, and which they considered to be the healthiest. No differences between groups were found neither in purchase intention (p = 0.386) nor in the identification of the healthiest product (p = 0.322). In both groups, the most-selected product was always the healthiest of the triad (>40% in purchase intention and >80% in identification of the healthiest). Front-of-package WLs did not influence purchase intention, or identification of healthier products among adolescents from public schools in Peru. Mass media and educational campaigns should accompany the WLs implementation to help achieve the policy objective.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1094
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StateIndexed - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Food preferences
  • Front-of-pack labeling
  • Nutrition labeling
  • Purchase intention
  • Warning labels

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