The 'Mere-Reminder' Effect of Salient Calorie Labeling

67 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015 Last revised: 17 Feb 2016

Indranil Goswami

Department of Marketing; University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Students

Oleg Urminsky

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Date Written: July 1, 2015

Abstract

Calorie labeling, an increasingly common policy intervention, has had mixed effects on consumer food choices. We show that visual salience of the calorie labels, rather than merely information content or format, is the key to reducing calorie. Our findings indicate that effective labeling, more visually salient than standard industry disclosures, works primarily as a reminder, by prompting people to consider nutrition rather than by providing new information. Both visually salient information and completely non-informative “mere reminders” to consider calories have similar effects on calorie choices, by making people more likely to incorporate their beliefs about nutrition into their decision. As a consequence, when consumers perceive high-calorie items as healthy, calorie labeling working as mere reminders will be less effective and can even backfire, leading to more choices of healthy-seeming high-calorie food options. The findings underscore the need for experimentally testing the psychological consequences of even ostensibly informational interventions.

Suggested Citation

Goswami, Indranil and Urminsky, Oleg, The 'Mere-Reminder' Effect of Salient Calorie Labeling (July 1, 2015). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 15-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2631778 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2631778

Indranil Goswami

Department of Marketing ( email )

12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://mgt.buffalo.edu/faculty/academic-departments/marketing/faculty/indranil-goswami.html

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, Students ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Oleg Urminsky (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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