A recent study conducted at Cornell University suggests that even the most meticulous label-readers can be fooled by something as simple as a food label’s color.
In the study, 93 college students were asked to compare candy bars with equal calorie content but differing label colors (red or green) and decide which was healthier. The majority viewed the green-labeled candy bar as the healthier choice.
A similar online study was conducted with a follow-up question to gauge how health-conscious the participants were. Surprisingly, the more health-conscious the participant, the more likely they were to be fooled by the green label!
This study is very timely as manufacturers of packaged foods are choosing to display their “front-of-package” nutrition labeling in numerous hues of green, regardless of the product’s healthfulness.
So what can you do?
Avoid packaged foods when possible, but if you find yourself scanning a box, bag, or can, be aware of the tricks companies are utilizing to sway your decision. Read the ingredients and nutrition information and base your decision on these objective measures rather than the package decor or front-of-box claims.