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Research: Colored Food Labels Better For Consumers

Text-Only Food Labels Not As Effective

An increasing number of governments have set their sights on food labels. Be it GMO labeling or enhanced nutritional labeling systems, food labels are a very hot topic. Australia recently introduced a five-star system that would rank foods on nutritional value, but new research shows the system may be inferior to that of the United Kingdom, which has introduced a stoplight label system that gives healthy items a green label and less healthy ones a red label.

After conducting a label review, RTI International found using text and color to denote nutritional values, rather than pure text labels, was a more efficient way to help customers understand nutrient information.

Front-Of-Package Labels Also Vital To Customer Knowledge
The review, published in the January issue of Nutrition Reviews, analyzed 38 studies of consumer responses to nutrition labels. It found those that used text and color to indicate "high," "medium" or "low" levels of nutritional value made it easier for consumers to understand the healthy nature of foods.

The study also suggested labels on the front of packaging, which are easily viewable to consumers, helped consumers make healthier food choices. However, RTI said more research is needed to further understand the importance of front-of-package labels and recommended that further labeling initiatives focus on consumers prone to obesity-related illness instead of customers already making healthy food selections.