Study shows that colors on food labels impact consumers’ purchasing habits

While some countries have already instituted a food labeling system powered by colors – with different hues representing an item's overall nutritional value – the U.S. might want to take a recent study into account. Research showed that consumers were more likely to consider a food healthy if it had a green label as opposed to a red one. 

Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication and director of Cornell's Social Cognition and Communication Lab, led the study, which was published in the current issue of the journal Healthcare Communication.

According to the research, the color of calorie labels may have an effect on whether people perceive the food as healthy, over and above the actual nutritional information conveyed by the label – even the calorie content. Additionally, green food labels increased perceived healthiness of foods, especially for shoppers who place a high importance on healthy eating.

For the study – done in-person and with online questioning – participants were asked to look at candy bars with either a green or red label. Respondents had to answer whether the candy bar, compared to others, contains more or fewer calories and how healthy it is. Even though the calorie content was the same, the items with green labels were seen as better nutritional options.

"As government organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration consider developing a uniform front-of-package labeling system for the U.S. marketplace, these findings suggest that the design and color of the labels may deserve as much attention as the nutritional information they convey," Schuldt said.

As food and drink companies try to design custom labels that adhere to national standards, while also drawing in customers, it is important to invest in the right equipment. With a Primera LX900 color label printer, companies can be sure to make unique food labels that accurately display nutritional information so consumers can make informed choices.

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