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Can Information Costs Affect Consumer Choice?—Nutritional Labels in a Supermarket Experiment—

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  • Kiesel, Kristin
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto

Abstract

This paper investigates whether information costs under currently regulated nutritional labeling prevent consumers from making healthier food choices. We implement five nutritional shelf label treatments in a market-level experiment. These labels reduce information costs by highlighting and summarizing information available on the Nutritional Facts Panel. Following a difference-in-differences and synthetic control method approach, we analyze weekly store-level scanner data for microwave popcorn purchases from treatment and control stores. Our results suggest that consumer purchases are affected by information costs. Implemented low calorie and no trans fat labels increase sales. In contrast, implemented low fat labels decrease sales, suggesting that consumer response is also influenced by consumers’ taste perceptions. A combination of these claims into one label treatment increases information costs and does not affect sales significantly.

Suggested Citation

  • Kiesel, Kristin & Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto, 2010. "Can Information Costs Affect Consumer Choice?—Nutritional Labels in a Supermarket Experiment—," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116433, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa115:116433
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.116433
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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