Food labels don’t help us buy healthy

LONDON: If you are making unhealthy food choices, part of the blame can be shared by food labels that are making consumers confused with their overload of information, says a new research.

“We found that the range of labels used by retailers and manufacturers can be confusing to customers for a number of reasons,” lead researcher Sheena Leek from the University of Birmingham in Britain was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

“The number of individual pieces of information on a product — such as fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories, as well as percentage of guideline daily amount, grams per serving and a related colour scheme — can cause overload confusion,” Leek said.

Technical complexities, such as the difference between fat and saturated fat, also confuse the customers, the research revealed.

Decision making of the shoppers also get affected by a lack of knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet, the study that involved face-to-face interviews with 30 shoppers.

When participants were asked to pick up healthy food by reading the labels on the products, one in seven of the decisions taken by respondents were incorrect, the findings showed.

The research was published in the Journal of Customer Behaviour.