Nutrition data on front label effective

June 30, 2012 at 8:00 PM
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LAS VEGAS, June 30 (UPI) -- In-store promotion and nutrition information on the front label of food packaging helps shoppers make healthier choices, U.S. researchers say.

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.

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