How Effective Are Color-Coding Food Labels?

How Effective Are Color-Coding Food Labels?

It is a known fact that foods that are high in salt, saturated fats (especially trans fats), and sugar are not good for you. Especially if they are also low in fiber and whole grains as well as other essential nutrients. But the fact of the matter is, most foods you get in the middle of the grocery store, the packaged ones are not as healthy as you would like. The same goes for many frozen meals.

That is because if you eat a diet that is high in trans fats, salt, sugar, and other preservatives, then you will increase your chances of having ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension, and other non-communicable diseases. The tragic thing is that these diseases make up about 71 percent of deaths globally.

Now, that food comes with color-coded labels as well as warning labels to help consumers make more mindful choices when it comes to their food. If people make better food choices, then there will be fewer deaths from these preventable diseases. However, it wasn’t overly known how effective these color-coded food labels are and if they do help you make better dietary decisions. Therefore, some studies were conducted to test the effectiveness of these labels to see if they did have a lot of influence on people making better decisions.

Studies Conducted For Determining The Effectiveness Of Color-Coded Food Labels Had Certain Findings

Researchers from the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand from different universities in those countries were reviewing the data from 134 peer-reviewed studies that were published for 31 years, between January 1990 and May 2021. They were utilizing the network meta-analysis method which was gathering up and summarizing the results from the research. That helped the researchers examine the effectiveness of the health warning or HW and nutrient warning or NW label systems.

They were evaluating the effects of the nutrient score or NS and the traffic light labeling system or TLS in addition to the HW and NW. As a result of their studies, the researchers found that the NW, HW, and TLS helped consumers to be more likely to choose more healthful products. However, they found that the NS caused consumers to not be as likely to buy products that were not healthy.

The Color-Coded Labeling System Does The Intended Job

The researchers believe that consumers were influenced by the NW, HW, and TLS to not buy less healthful foods. Therefore, these labels helped to induce consumers to have positive attitudes towards healthful foods as well as negative attitudes towards foods that are less nutritious.

The warning labels were more of a deterrent for consumers from buying unhealthy foods. Therefore, these color-coded labels do work, and feel that they should be mandatory. The food industry should use them in all of their foods so that way, consumers know what they are buying and if it is worth it for them to even have the occasional poorly nutritious food in the house as a backup meal in case of a storm or some other natural disaster.

Even a bariatric surgeon believed that color-coded warning labels on foods should make a difference in their health. Therefore, if people are more aware of the health benefits and drawbacks of certain foods, then the labels will help steer them towards healthier foods. They have a great impact on helping people make much better food choices. The only thing that needs improvement is that the labels should be more concise as to why the food is not healthy or it is healthy. Even though the color-coded label system works, it should be a little less ambiguous that will help people make even better food choices.

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