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Smart food policy for healthy food labelling

14 / 03 / 19


Labels promoting the tastiness of healthy foods work better to increase healthy food choice than labels emphasising health attributes in a dining sitting.


Despite taste being the leading driver of food choice, food labels emphasize health attributes such as energy, fat and sugar content rather than tastiness. This study compared the effects of traditional health focussed labels (eg “light n’ Low Carb Green Beans and Shallots”) with taste-focussed labels (eg “Sweet sizzlin’ green beans and crispy shallots”) on adults’ food choice and enjoyment across several dining settings in California. Examples of taste-focussed labels included

Taste focussed labels compared to health labels increased healthy food selection by 38%. Taste labels increased choice of vegetables, salads and vegetable wraps; and sustained vegetarian choices over a two-month period while health labels decreased them by 45%. Taste labels significantly enhanced post-consumption rating of vegetable deliciousness and improved mindsets about the deliciousness of healthy foods. The researchers concluded that taste-focussed labelling is a low-cost strategy to increase healthy food selection and works better than health labels.


Turnwald BP, Crum AJ. Smart food policy for healthy food labelling: Leading with taste, not healthiness, to shift consumption and enjoyment of healthy foods. Prev Med 2019 Feb; 119:7-13

Link to abstract: