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Consumer Preferences for Detailed versus Summary Formats of Nutrition Information on Grocery Store Shelf Labels


Author Info

  • Berning Joshua P

    (Washington State University)

  • Chouinard Hayley H

    (Washington State University)

  • McCluskey Jill J

    (Washington State University)


The health-related problems caused by poor diet choices has elevated the policy importance of how to communicate nutrition information more effectively to consumers at the point of purchase. At the same time, food retailers want to provide their customers with nutrition information in the format their shoppers prefer. The shopping environment, which includes the provision of nutrition information, is a way that food retailers can differentiate themselves from the competition. In this article, we present a simple model of the demand for nutrition information and empirically evaluate consumer preferences for two different formats. We compare nutrition information on grocery store shelf labels in the Greater San Francisco Area presented in detailed and summary formats. The detailed nutrition information provides an explicit description of specific nutrients but may be more costly to process and difficult to understand. Summary nutrition information reduces processing effort but provides a condensed description of nutritional content. The results indicate that there are higher mean preferences for detailed nutrition labels but also a greater dispersion of preferences. Nutrition-conscious consumers are more likely to prefer detailed information. The summary format may benefit shoppers who are less likely to use other forms of information.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bjafio:v:6:y:2008:i:1:n:6

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Cited by:
  1. Yang, Shang-Ho & Woods, Timothy A., 2013. "Assessing Consumer Willingness to Pay for Ground Bison Given Nutrition Information," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 143079, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  2. Costanigro, Marco & Deselnicu, Oana & Kroll, Stephan, 2012. "Truthful, Misguiding Labels: The Implications of Labeling Production Processes rather than their Outcomes," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124615, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Kelvin Balcombe & Iain Fraser, 2009. "A General Treatment of Non-Response Data From Choice Experiments Using Logit Models," Studies in Economics 0916, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  4. Ellison, Brenna D. & Lusk, Jayson L. & Davis, David W., 2012. "Effect of Menu Labeling on Caloric Intake and Restaurant Revenue in Full-Service Restaurants," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 123325, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  5. Kelvin Balcombe & Iain Fraser & Salvatore Di Falco, 2009. "Traffic Lights and Food Choice: A Choice Experiment Examining the Relationship Between Nutritional Food Labels and Price," Studies in Economics 0915, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  6. Tonsor, Glynn T. & Wolf, Christopher A., 2011. "On mandatory labeling of animal welfare attributes," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 430-437, June.


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