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Simple nutrition labels motivate healthy purchases

Posted:  Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Simple nutrition labels inspire healthy shopping

Simple nutrition labels boost sales of healthy foods at grocery stores! Many grocery shoppers are poor at deciphering the nutritional facts given on a product package. Now, a new study has found that a simplified nutrition label can motivate consumers to buy healthier foods at grocery stores.

Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the study used the NuVal (Nutritional Value) simplified scoring system to understand the influence of simplified nutrition labels on consumer behaviour. The NuVal system summarises all the nutritional information available on the nutritional label into one score, which is displayed on the shelf pricing tag. The scores range from 1 to 100, a higher score indicating better nutrition.

The study evaluated more than 535,000 shoppers at a major grocery store chain that utilised the NuVal system. Eight food categories, including frozen pizza, tomato products, soup, salad dressing, yogurt, spaghetti sauce, granola bars, and ice cream bore the NuVal scores. The study looked at the food purchases of the shoppers six months before and after the introduction of the NUval scores.

The results were encouraging, with the shoppers making a beeline for the higher-scoring products, regardless of the price. The NuVal scores increased healthy purchases by over 20 percent and also helped consumers save time. Additionally, price sensitivity in the grocery chain witnessed a 19% dip, while overall sales registered a growth.

The researchers found another interesting trend. Shoppers were paying more attention to a store's promotions rather than the price of the products. Explaining this behaviour, the researchers said, "Our study also revealed that shoppers became less price-sensitive and more promotion-sensitive following the introduction of the food scoring system. The new nutrition scores help to justify the price. This means that grocery stores were able to create a win-win by helping their customers make healthier choices, while also increasing sales at their store. Instead of thinking about reducing prices as a way to increase sales, stores can think about highlighting their promotions in the store".

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