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Getting rid of trans fats in the US diet: Policies, incentives and progress

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  • Unnevehr, Laurian J.
  • Jagmanaite, Evelina

Abstract

Artificial trans fats in foods increase chronic disease risk in the US population. Federal nutrition label regulation enacted in 2003 requires mandatory disclosure of trans fat content on packaged foods. This action created incentives for the food industry to reduce trans fats both in response to consumer demand and through competition to maintain product reputation. Subsequent public actions include a ban on trans fat use in New York city restaurants and lawsuits against food companies, which created further incentives to remove trans fats, especially in the food service industry. Industry has reformulated packaged foods and found substitutes for restaurant fry oils and trans fats are disappearing from the US food supply. Market response extends throughout the supply chain, and has spurred research to alter oilseed crop characteristics. The widespread and relatively rapid industry response likely has improved the quality of US diets, and demonstrates the potential for policy actions to spur such improvements.

Suggested Citation

  • Unnevehr, Laurian J. & Jagmanaite, Evelina, 2008. "Getting rid of trans fats in the US diet: Policies, incentives and progress," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 497-503, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:6:p:497-503
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    Cited by:

    1. Nichele, Veronique & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2011. "Is voluntary nutritional labelling efficient? An analysis of the biscuits and cakes sector in France," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 109191, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Getu Hailu & John Cranfield & Rawlin Thangaraj, 2010. "Do U.S. food processors respond to sweetener-related health information?," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 348-368.
    3. Alexander E. Saak, 2011. "A Model of Labeling with Horizontal Differentiation and Cost Variability," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1131-1150.
    4. S. Duvaleix-Tréguer & A. Hammoudi & L. Rouached & L.G. Soler, 2012. "Firms' responses to nutritional policies," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 39(5), pages 843-877, December.
    5. Trenton Smith & Hayley Chouinard & Philip Wandschneider, 2009. "Waiting for the Invisible Hand: Market Power and Endogenous Information in the Modern Market for Food," Working Papers 2009-07, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    6. Restrepo, Brandon J. & Rieger, Matthias, 2016. "Trans fat and cardiovascular disease mortality: Evidence from bans in restaurants in New York," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 176-196.
    7. Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges & Zang, Yu, 2016. "Quality standards versus nutritional taxes: Health and welfare impacts with strategic firms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 268-285.
    8. Clementina Sebillote, 2013. "Efficiency of Public-Private Co-regulation in the Food Sector: the French Voluntary Agreements for Nutritional Improvements," Working Papers 2013-03, Alimentation et Sciences Sociales.
    9. Golan, Elise & Unnevehr, Laurian, 2008. "Food product composition, consumer health, and public policy: Introduction and overview of special section," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 465-469, December.
    10. Smith, Trenton G. & Chouinard, Hayley H. & Wandschneider, Philip R., 2011. "Waiting for the invisible hand: Novel products and the role of information in the modern market for food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 239-249, April.
    11. Tan, Andy S.L., 2011. "An approach to building the case for nutrition policies to limit trans-fat intake – A Singapore case study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 264-272.
    12. Shewmake, Sharon & Okrent, Abigail & Thabrew, Lanka & Vandenbergh, Michael, 2015. "Predicting consumer demand responses to carbon labels," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 168-180.
    13. Staudigel, Matthias & Anders, Sven, 2016. "Does taste trump health? Effects of nutritional characteristics on brand-level demand for chips in the U.S," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235755, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Caldeira, Monica & Sottomayor, Miguel & Souza Monteiro, Diogo M., 2011. "Portuguese Retailers’ Motivations to Adopt Front of Pack Nutrition Labels: A Qualitative Analysis," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 109189, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    15. McCarthy, Mark & Cluzel, Elodie & Dressel, Kerstin & Newton, Rachel, 2013. "Food and health research in Europe: Structures, gaps and futures," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 64-71.
    16. Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria & Labartino, Giovanna, 2014. "More apples fewer chips? The effect of school fruit schemes on the consumption of junk food," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 114-126.
    17. Wang, Emily Y. & Wei, Hongli & Caswell, Julie A., 2016. "The impact of mandatory trans fat labeling on product mix and consumer choice: A longitudinal analysis of the U.S. Market for margarine and spreads," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 63-81.
    18. Lombardini-Riipinen, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2010. "Take off the heater: Utility effect and food environment effect in food consumption decisions," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116431, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:333:p:34-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Staudigel, Matthias & Anders, Sven, 2016. "Does Taste Trump Health? – The Effect Of Nutrient Profiles On Brand-Level Demand For Chips In The U.S," 56th Annual Conference, Bonn, Germany, September 28-30, 2016 244760, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    21. Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2017. "The Importance of Product Reformulation Versus Consumer Choice in Improving Diet Quality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(333), pages 34-53, January.

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