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Consumers' Search and Use of Nutrition Information: The Challenge and Promise of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act

Siva K. Balasubramanian and Catherine Cole
Journal of Marketing
Vol. 66, No. 3 (Jul., 2002), pp. 112-127
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3203458
Page Count: 16
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Consumers' Search and Use of Nutrition Information: The Challenge and Promise of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act
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Abstract

Four studies investigate the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act's (NLEA's) impact on how consumers use nutrition information. Field and laboratory studies compare, but do not detect any changes in, consumers' search for nutrition information or their recall of this information in the pre- and post-NLEA periods. However, the search activities of a select group (highly motivated and less knowledgeable consumers) benefited more from the NLEA than did other groups. Additional results from the field and lab studies indicate that the NLEA changed attention to negative nutrition attributes (such as fat and sodium, of which less is better) more than it changed attention to positive attributes such as calcium and vitamins. Analyses of scanner databases confirm this trend (with the exception of calories). Focus group results also reflect these findings. The authors discuss implications for public policy, management, academic research, and consumer welfare.

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