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Advantages and Limitations of the Front-of-Package (FOP) Labeling Systems in Guiding the Consumers’ Healthy Food Choice


  • Angela Tarabella

    (University of Pisa, Italy)

  • Lelia Voinea

    (Academy of Economic Studies from Bucharest, Romania)


In the last decades, nutrition labels have provided an increasing amount of information about the nutritional value of a foodstuff, in a variety of patterns, having the main goal to help consumers in making healthier food choices. Now, many questions appeared related to the effectiveness of nutrition information in guiding the consumer purchasing behaviour, by encouraging the healthy foods choice. It becomes increasingly clear that many consumers have difficulties in understanding the nutritional information, preferring a simpler way in providing this information, helping them in the rapid evaluation of the nutritional characteristics of a foodstuff. In response to the obvious need to develop a more effective presentation of nutritional information, which convey this information in a simplified and systematic manner, manufacturers and retailers from different countries have created some systems for signalling the nutritional profile. For the nutritional information of greatest interest to be easily perceived by consumers, they have used various forms of graphical representation, that were marked on the front of individual packages (generically called "front of package" - FOP). Although created in order to facilitate healthy food choices, the effect of these FOP systems on consumers is now controversial. Following a literature review, the paper highlights the main benefits and limitations of the widely used FOP systems in the European Union ("Traffic Light" and "Guideline Daily Amounts"). The paper presents also some suggestions for developing an optimal FOP system, standardized and adapted to consumers’ needs.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Tarabella & Lelia Voinea, 2013. "Advantages and Limitations of the Front-of-Package (FOP) Labeling Systems in Guiding the Consumers’ Healthy Food Choice," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(33), pages 198-209, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aes:amfeco:v:15:y:2013:i:33:p:198-209

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Magdalena Bobe & Roxana Procopie, 2011. "The Psycho-sensorial Value of the Food Products a Provocative Component in Purchase Decision," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 13(Special N), pages 780-789, November.
    2. Balcombe, Kelvin & Fraser, Iain & Falco, Salvatore Di, 2010. "Traffic lights and food choice: A choice experiment examining the relationship between nutritional food labels and price," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 211-220, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Magdalena Bobe & Roxana Procopie & Rodica Pamfilie & Maria Alexandra Toma, 2014. "Producer`s Responsibility Concerning the Assurance and Statement of Quality for Foods with “Organic Image” based on the Model of a Romanian Company," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(35), pages 215-215, February.
    2. Lelia Voinea & Diana Maria Vrânceanu & Alina Filip & Dorin Vicențiu Popescu & Teodor Mihai Negrea & Răzvan Dina, 2019. "Research on Food Behavior in Romania from the Perspective of Supporting Healthy Eating Habits," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(19), pages 1-26, September.
    3. Chen, Xuqi & Gao, Yujuan & Gao, Zhifeng, 2022. "Impacts of color-coded nutrition facts panel and consumer responses," 2022 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Anaheim, California 322206, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Muller, L. & Prevost, M., 2016. "What cognitive sciences have to say about the impacts of nutritional labelling formats," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 17-29.
    5. Rebecca C. A. Tobi & Francesca Harris & Ritu Rana & Kerry A. Brown & Matthew Quaife & Rosemary Green, 2019. "Sustainable Diet Dimensions. Comparing Consumer Preference for Nutrition, Environmental and Social Responsibility Food Labelling: A Systematic Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(23), pages 1-22, November.

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    More about this item


    nutritional labelling; Front – of – Package systems; “Traffic Light”; „Guideline Daily Amounts”; consumer perception; food choice;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty


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