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This study aimed to identify correlates of nutrition label awareness and use, particularly subgroup differences among consumers. Two label types were assessed: (1) nutrition facts tables (NFt) in Australia, Canada, Mexico, UK, and USA and (2) front-of-package (FOP) labels, including mandatory Guideline Daily Amounts (Mexico), voluntary Health Star Ratings (Australia) and voluntary Traffic Lights (UK).
Respondents were recruited using Nielsen Consumer Insights Global Panel (n 21 586) and completed online surveys in November–December 2018. Linear regression and generalised linear mixed models examined differences in label use and awareness between countries and label type based on sociodemographic, knowledge-related and dietary characteristics.
Australia, Canada, Mexico, UK and USA.
Adults (≥18 years).
Respondents from the USA, Canada and Australia reported significantly higher NFt use and awareness than those in Mexico and the UK. Mexican respondents reported the highest level of FOP label awareness, whereas UK respondents reported the highest FOP label use. NFt use was higher among females, ‘minority’ ethnic groups, those with higher nutrition knowledge and respondents with ‘adequate literacy’ compared with those with ‘high likelihood of limited literacy’. FOP label use was higher among those with a ‘high likelihood of limited literacy’ compared with ‘adequate literacy’ across countries.
Lower use of mandatory Guideline Daily Amount labels compared with voluntary FOP labelling systems provides support for Mexico’s decision to switch to mandatory ‘high-in’ warning symbols. The patterns of consumer label use and awareness across sociodemographic and knowledge-related characteristics suggest that simple FOP labels may encourage broader use across countries.
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