Yeah, No One Looks at Nutrition Labels

Staff Writer
Shoppers may say they look at calorie counts, but they don't

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

We may all say we try to be healthy, but few of us actually look at the nutrition labels on food packages. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 203 people (mostly women) were studied to see where their eyes go on a food package.

One-third of the participants claimed to look at calorie content and fat content on labels, 20 percent claimed they looked for trans fats, and 24 percent said they look at sugar content.

When shown computer images of food with a description, price, and nutrition label, however, eye-tracking data showed that consumers overestimated their viewing.

Only 9 percent of the participants looked at calorie content on 80 percent of the items. Fat, trans fats, and sugar content received even less eye time.

Furthermore, data suggests that "label components at the top of the label were viewed more than those at the bottom, and labels positioned in the center of the screen were viewed more than those located on the sides."

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