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With Food Packaging, Look Beyond The Buzzwords

04/25/11

  11:33:17 am, by MedBen5   , 281 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

With Food Packaging, Look Beyond The Buzzwords

Several recent research projects drive home the point that food package labeling should not just be taken at face value – and it applies to adults as well as kids. By the simple use of a word or image, marketers can influence our attitudes about a food’s nutritional value and taste.

  • Medical News Today reports on a Journal of Consumer Research article which says that dieters are particularly vulnerable to healthy-sounding food names, and may end up eating unhealthy foods under the mistaken belief that they’re good for them.

    People were randomly asked in one test to judge whether a menu item containing pasta and lettuce was healthy or not. When described as a “salad dish", it received healthier ratings than when it was called a “pasta dish", even though the dish contained 900 calories and 60 grams of fat in either case.

    In a second test, dieters ate more of a candy called “fruit chews” than when the identical product was called “candy chews". Non-dieters were much less influenced by the product’s name.

  • A University of Pennsylvania study suggests that when it comes to cereal labeling, even younger children understand the positive connotation of the word “healthy".

    According to the website Pizaazz, scientists gave a group 4-6 year old kids cereal boxes labeled “Sugar Bits". Half of the boxes featured cartoon penguins, while the other half did not. The “penguin” boxes were judged better-tasting than the “non-penguin” boxes – no surprise there. But given penguin and non-penguin boxes labeled “Healthy Bits", kids rated the tasty equally high regardless of whether the penguins were present or not – and what’s more, they rated the taste higher on average than those labeled “Sugar Bits".

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