Consumers have limited attention span for nutrition labels on food packaging, read labels far less frequently than they say they do, study finds

LOS ANGELES , December 14, 2011 () – According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Research, consumers have a limited attention span for nutrition labels on food packaging, and they read the labels far less frequently than they say they do, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 13.

A third of the participants reported on questionnaires that they usually look at calorie content on labels. Nearly a third said the same for fat content, 20% for trans fats, 24% for sugar and 26% for serving size.

According to eye-tracking data, however, only 9% of the participants looked at calorie content on about 80% of items, and even fewer people viewed other components.

Many more of the participants viewed information at the top of the label, where calories and fats are listed, than at the bottom, where there is information about sodium, sugar and vitamins, the study said. The data suggested that the average consumer doesn't read below the fifth line.

The study also found that labels placed in the center of the packaging were viewed more often than labels on the sides.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on Dec. 13, 2011.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.