Dennis Milne, director of business relations at the American Heart Association, presented research showing that when a tag was put on the grocery store shelf showing that a product had the Heart Check mark indicating a heart-healthy food, sales increased 1.5 percent to 6.7 percent, depending on the group of shoppers.
The sales increase was highest in the group considered "struggling dieters," who have a high interest in nutrition but tend to struggle with weight loss and their ability to eat healthy -- while it was lowest in those who already follow a strict heart-healthy diet.
"Consumers aren't necessarily looking for the Heart Check mark, but it does influence them when they see it," Milne said said in a statement.
Mary Christ-Erwin, director of the food and nutrition practice at Porter Novelli, said shopping behaviors are driven by many factors, but it is hard to get something new in that grocery cart -- people don't change their eating habits that much.
"Front-of-package labels can play a role in breaking through these patterns because of their ease of use" Christ-Erwin said.
The findings were presented at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting.