Research examines wholesome food labels that perform and will not perform

Want that packet of biscuits? That’ll be 17 minutes of jogging to burn off off just one serving (and there’s almost certainly more than a person serving in there).

These kinds of Bodily Activity Equivalent (PAE) labels on food and drinks have been proven to really encourage consumers to make much healthier buys. Even so, new analysis from Duke-NUS Health care University and NUS Observed Swee Hock University of Community Overall health in Singapore has discovered that when displayed alongside a Much healthier Selection Image, the favourable effects of both labels are diluted. The analyze was lately printed in the journal Urge for food.


Our analyze exhibits the value of trying to keep labeling straightforward, so consumers are not perplexed or overloaded with info. With being overweight and serious conditions on the rise globally and in Singapore, it is critical to recognize what messaging is most powerful in serving to shoppers select much healthier weight loss plans.”


Professor Eric Finkelstein, wellness economist at Duke-NUS’ Health and fitness Expert services and Systems Investigate Programme, research guide writer


Singapore has been encouraging consumers to get food items solutions with the Healthier Preference Image. The Healthier Choice Symbol tells shoppers the healthier choices in just a foods classification, these types of as desserts and sugary beverages, by looking at the profile of suitable nutrition of a solution in that category (e.g. some goods may perhaps be much healthier owing to owning decreased ranges of excess fat).

Prof Finkelstein and his colleagues hypothesized that exhibiting a PAE label along with the Healthier Choice Image would lead purchasers to invest in foodstuff and beverages with less calories. They recruited far more than 100 adults to shop in their on-line grocery keep, NUSMart, which incorporates thousands of items uncovered in frequent stores in Singapore. Participants shopped three periods, beneath distinctive labeling scenarios on particular goods: a) a More healthy Selection Image, b) both equally a Much healthier Alternative Symbol and a PAE label, and c) no label.

They discovered the Healthier Preference Image led to a five percent boost in acquiring foodstuff and beverages with that label, exhibiting that it is effective to affect consumer demand. Nonetheless, when put together with a PAE label, the effect was diluted. A single feasible explanation is that the More healthy Decision Image and the PAE label emphasis on related but distinctive nutritional elements of a meals product – the previous focuses on the total nutrient profile, whereas the latter focuses more exclusively on calories on your own.

“These results present that while the Much healthier Selection Symbol on its possess does stimulate Singaporean people to acquire more healthy items, what is required for widespread general public wellbeing impression is a mixture of actions to be delivered at adequate scale across different sectors of the foodstuff source,” claimed Dr Annie Ling, Team Director, Policy, Investigate and Surveillance Division, at Singapore’s Wellness Advertising Board (HPB). Dr Ling also observed that the findings from this examine and from other similar studies have assisted HPB to style and refine its policies and programmes.

Prof Finkelstein and his colleagues strategy to examine the performance of the new labels with their NUSMart system, as very well as other solutions, which include the opportunity for buyers to decide which labels they obtain most helpful.

“What I have arrive to imagine is that there is no magic bullet the authorities can use to make improvements to food plan top quality, but alternatively a series of nudges that can mix to have meaningful impacts,” stated Prof Finkelstein, who has researched tactics to lower being overweight prices for extra than 20 several years.

Professor Rob van Dam, a research co-writer from NUS Saw Swee Hock Faculty of Community Health, concurred, “We are excited to perform significant-good quality research to recognize which messages are most productive to strengthen dietary choices, and to operate with sector and government to strengthen food items labelling and make a actual difference in the wellbeing of the population.”


Journal reference:

Finkelstein, E.A., et al. (2020) A randomized managed demo tests the outcomes of a positive front-of-pack label with or with out a bodily activity equal label on foods purchases. Urge for food.