Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Buyer Beware: Don't Let Food Companies Fool You!

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.


Pie Hole Blogger said...

I read that study and was so surprised. I wonder what it is about green.

My personal beef with labels in America is the lack of a standardised column (eg: 100g) in addition to the 'per serve' column.

Food manufacturers manipulate the serve size to make something seem healthier (eg: making it so that the cal/serve is <100cal, or so they don't have to list trans fat because in a 'serve' there's <0.5g).

It's very misleading and my favourite example is spray oil. The serve size is 1/4sec spray... how does a consumer even quantify that? That serve has 0 calories and that is extremely misleading because people then assume the oil has no calories....it's oil, of course there are calories.

Thanks for sharing your article!

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Nessa Tailor said...

I agree don't look the product by its packaging rather see to it the nutritional content of the product. Thanks for this useful advice you've share.