Value of parsimonious nutritional information in a framed field experiment
This study investigates consumers’ beliefs about the tastiness and healthiness of 173 food items in a framed field experiment designed to mirror a grocery shopping environment. Using data collected from 129 food shoppers in Grenoble, France, demand models are estimated to determine how product choice is affected by price, taste, and perceived healthiness, and how choices change with the provision of objective health information. Unlike previous studies focusing on relatively complex nutrition labels, we elicit and convey health information using simple nutritional indices meant to lower search and cognitive processing costs. The results indicate that consumers are willing to pay for tastier foods and for healthier foods, particularly if the consumers have objective information (as opposed to perceived, subjective information) on nutrient content. The estimates suggest that the value of the type of nutritional information provided in the experiment is €0.98 per day. The figure refers to the daily welfare benefits that arise from being able to make a set of choices that better reflect people’s preferences by receiving the nutrient index information on all 173 food items versus not having such information.
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