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Traffic lights and food choice: A choice experiment examining the relationship between nutritional food labels and price

  • Balcombe, Kelvin
  • Fraser, Iain
  • Falco, Salvatore Di

In this paper we investigate how consumers respond to the UK nutritional food label Traffic Light System (TLS). Employing a choice experiment (CE) we find that consumers appear to behave in a manner consistent with our expectations regarding the impact of the TLS. We identify a strong preference on the part of respondents to avoid a basket of goods containing a mix of foods with any "Red" lights. In addition, we find that consumers have a hierarchy of importance in terms of perception of the various nutrients examined and there are clear behavioural differences associated with particular socio-economic characteristics confirming early research on the use of nutrition labels. Overall our results indicate significant heterogeneity in the attitudes and responses of consumers to the TLS nutritional food labels within and across socio-economic strata.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

Volume (Year): 35 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 211-220

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:35:y:2010:i:3:p:211-220
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

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  1. Wim Verbeke, 2005. "Agriculture and the food industry in the information age," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 347-368, September.
  2. Balcombe, Kelvin & Chalak, Ali & Fraser, Iain, 2009. "Model selection for the mixed logit with Bayesian estimation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 226-237, March.
  3. Gracia, Azucena & Loureiro, Maria & Nayga, Rodolfo Jr., 2007. "Do consumers perceive benefits from the implementation of a EU mandatory nutritional labelling program?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 160-174, April.
  4. Bond, Craig A. & Thilmany, Dawn D. & Bond, Jennifer Keeling, 2008. "What to Choose? The Value of Label Claims to Fresh Produce Consumers," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 33(3), December.
  5. Kim, Sung-Yong & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Capps, Oral, Jr., 2000. "The Effect Of Food Label Use On Nutrient Intakes: An Endogenous Switching Regression Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 25(01), July.
  6. Maria L. Loureiro & Azucena Gracia & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2006. "Do consumers value nutritional labels?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 249-268, June.
  7. Jayachandran N. Variyam, 2008. "Do nutrition labels improve dietary outcomes?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 695-708.
  8. Berning Joshua P & Chouinard Hayley H & McCluskey Jill J, 2008. "Consumer Preferences for Detailed versus Summary Formats of Nutrition Information on Grocery Store Shelf Labels," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-22, August.
  9. Andreas C. Drichoutis & Panagiotis Lazaridis & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2005. "Nutrition knowledge and consumer use of nutritional food labels," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 93-118, March.
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