Because food manufacturers have been criticized for years for their vague labeling standards, the federal government eventually required companies to modified their labels. While this has excited many health activists, an important question still remains: Will these new labeling regulations result in healthier eaters? A new study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing has us thinking they may not.
Researchers found that new fast-food menu labels that provide more details regarding calorie intake didn't necessarily spur fast-food eaters to eat healthier.
"Health policies would benefit from greater attention to what is known about effective messaging and behavior change. The success of fast-food menu labeling depends on multiple conditions being met, not just the availability of calorie information," explained study author Andrew Breck, a doctoral candidate at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, according to Medical Daily.
Beth Weitzman, a professor of public health and policy at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development said that fast-food eaters aren't necessarily motivated to eat the food because of its ingriedents – they eat fast food because it's inexpensive. We might also add that it's very quick to buy.
"We know that few regular fast-food eaters chose fast food because it is nutritious; they instead are motivated by cost and convenience," Weitzman said, according to Medical Daily. "However, requiring restaurants to make the calorie content of their menu items highly visible could cause restaurants to add new, healthy options to their menus."
What does this have to do with food product labeling in supermarkets? At first it may not seem like there's much of a comparison, but there is. This study could indicate that some people, such as those who regularly eat fast food, may also be uninterested in reading food product labels to obtain more information about calorie intake
If you'd like to know whether your food labels fit your intended target audience, give us a call today.