Nutrition label processing in the past 10 years: Contributions from eye tracking approach

Appetite. 2021 Jan 1;156:104859. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104859. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Abstract

Healthy eating plays a critical role in preventing diet-related chronic diseases. To promote healthy eating, nutrition labels have been mandated to certain foods in many countries. To test how different designs of nutrition labels affect consumer behavior, eye tracking technique has been increasingly used to overcome the limitations of subjective report which are susceptible to different biases and a poor indicator of nutrition label use in reality. In this review, we reviewed 45 eye-tracking studies on nutrition label processing. Besides a summary of eye tracking methodology, we found three emerged topics from these studies: attention capture, nutrition label comprehension and food choice. Overall, updated designs of nutrition labels improve attention capture and nutrition label comprehension, but it does not necessarily lead to healthier food choices. The discrepancy between attention capture and food choice also indicate potential limitation in promoting healthy food choice via the indirect attention route (exposure - attention - nutrition label processing - food choice). Instead, actual food choice may be a consequence of a direct heuristic route and modulated by person-, product- and context-related factors. These findings can not only guide future studies, but also have implications on making nutrition label policy and improving human health in eastern developing countries.

Keywords: Eating behavior; Eye tracking; Food choice; Nutrition label.

Publication types

  • Review