Identifying Food Labeling Effects on Consumer Behavior
47 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 24 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 16, 2019
We examine a large-scale mandatory food labeling regulation to identify its effects on consumer behavior. We take advantage of exogenous variation in product-labeling status from the gradual and asynchronous introduction of labeled products on store shelves many weeks before the legal deadline. We combine individual-level scan data from a large retailer with on-the-shelf information on the actual warning-label status for breakfast cereals, chocolates, and cookies. We find that warning labels decrease demand and purchase probabilities in the cereal category only and the effect is larger on medium-low socioeconomic groups. Results are consistent with information disclosure influencing consumers' choices when the advertised information is unexpected.
Keywords: Food Labeling, Obesity, Public Policy, Consumer Behavior, Food Information
JEL Classification: D12, I12, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation