Can Low-Fat Nutrition Labels Lead to Obesity?
Journal of Marketing Research 43.4 (2006): 605-617
Posted: 2 Aug 2014
Date Written: September 1, 2006
In this era of increasing obesity and increasing threats of legislation and regulation of food marketing practices, regulatory agencies have pointedly asked how “low-fat” nutrition claims may influence food consumption. The authors develop and test a framework that contends that low-fat nutrition labels increase food intake by (1) increasing perceptions of the appropriate serving size and (2) decreasing consumption guilt. Three studies show that low-fat labels lead all consumers — particularly those who are overweight — to overeat snack foods. Furthermore, salient objective serving-size information (e.g., “Contains 2 Servings”) reduces overeating among guilt-prone, normal weight consumers but not among overweight consumers. With consumer welfare and corporate profitability in mind, the authors suggest win-win packaging and labeling insights for public policy officials and food marketers.
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