Understanding Global Consumer Perceptions On Food And Nutrition Labels

Consumers world over seem to share the same sentiments when it comes to food and nutrition labels. This can be understood given that humans generally incline towards safety as opposed to deliberately risking their lives by consuming products they are not sure of. So what exactly do modern day consumers think about food and nutrition labels? Do they take time to think about what the information on labels mean for their health and wellness? What exactly do they look for on labels? While the answers to these questions may differ from one country to another, there are concerns that cut across the board. That is, there are certain aspects of food and nutrition labels that seem to draw a common reaction world over.

Nutrient Content

Research shows that consumers across North America, Asia and Europe are aware of the link that exists between the food and drinks they consume and health. This does not come as a surprise mainly because positive attitudes and knowledge towards nutrition information on labels tend to increase with higher levels of income as well as education. In a nutshell, countries that boast of high IQs and enviable per capita income show resentment for food labels that feature nutrient content which are not healthy. Canada is a prime example of a country where consumers take time to calculate servings and other features in nearly all food and nutrition labels they come across.

Taste And Price

It goes without saying that price and taste are key drivers in food and soft drink purchase decisions. The same can be said about alcoholic decisions. This perception is particularly rampant in countries where significant food and drink proportions are enjoyed outside home.


There is a reason experts talk of calories as an independent nutrition factor. For starters, it is the single most popular nutrition concern consumers always look out for. Strangely consumers are usually not able to put the information they get from labels in the context of their daily diet. Simply put, consumers incorrectly estimate their calorie intake. The best a brand can do is give an accurate figure on the amount of calories a food product has.

Label Formats and Designs

Simplified nutrition labels that feature front of pack information have been proven to be liked by consumers worldwide. Likewise, qualitative research on food and nutrition labels suggest that consumers incline more to columnar formats which show percentages and grams side by side. This may not seem vital for consumers. For product manufacturers however, it means several things.

First, there is need to come up with simple label formats because consumers want to take the least amount of time possible to read a label so as to decide whether they will buy a product or not. First impressions therefore matter here. Then there is the fact that label design, which entails the aesthetic element of a label matters as much as the information presented on the label. To that extent, stick to simple yet aesthetically appealing food and nutrition labels.