Front‐of‐Pack Food Labeling and the Politics of Nutritional Nudges

16 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016

See all articles by Gyorgy Scrinis

Gyorgy Scrinis

University of Melbourne

Christine Parker

Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

This article examines the potential for new front‐of‐pack (FOP) nutrition labeling initiatives to nudge consumers toward healthier food choices. The libertarian‐paternalist approach to policy known as nudge initially developed by Thaler and Sunstein is discussed, with its emphasis on designing spaces (including the space of the food label) to shape the behavior of individuals while not restricting consumer choice or imposing restrictions or penalties on producers. In the context of concerns over diet‐related chronic diseases and obesity, new FOP interpretive nutrition labels have been proposed or implemented in an attempt to shift consumer dietary choices, including the Multiple Traffic Light labeling system in the United Kingdom and the Health Star Rating system in Australia. We identify some of the characteristics, the underlying nutritional philosophies, and the limitations of these FOP labeling schemes. We suggest that the potential of these schemes is compromised by the coexistence on the food label of many other forms of nutrition information and food marketing. Some alternative ways of labeling and communicating the nutritional quality of foods are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

Scrinis, Gyorgy and Parker, Christine, Front‐of‐Pack Food Labeling and the Politics of Nutritional Nudges (July 2016). Law & Policy, Vol. 38, Issue 3, pp. 234-249, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2810363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lapo.12058

Gyorgy Scrinis (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Christine Parker

Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/christine-parker

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