Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Nutrition labelling

Sales effects of product health information at points of purchase: a systematic review

Jonathan van 't Riet 

Department of Applied Psychology, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, PO Box 1025, 1000 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract

Objective Information about healthy and unhealthy nutrients is increasingly conveyed at the point of purchase. Many studies have investigated the effects of product health information on attitudes and intentions, but the empirical evidence becomes sketchier when the focus of research is actual purchase behaviour. The present paper provides an overview of empirical evidence on the effectiveness of product health information for food products at the point of purchase.

Design A systematic literature review was conducted.

Setting Only studies were included that assessed the effect of product health information at the point of purchase on actual purchase behaviour, using data provided by stores’ sales records or obtained by investigating customer receipts as the primary outcome measure.

Subjects The included studies’ target group comprised supermarket clientele.

Results Several studies found no significant effects of product health information on actual purchase behaviour. Interventions were more likely to be effective when they lasted for a longer time, when they included additional intervention components, and when they targeted the absence of unhealthy nutrients instead of or in addition to the presence of healthy nutrients.

Conclusions No strong evidence for the effectiveness of product health information was found. The effect of intervention duration, additional promotional activities and targeting of healthy v. unhealthy nutrients should be closely examined in future studies.

(Received January 19 2011)

(Revised December 05 2011)

(Accepted February 24 2012)

(Online publication May 08 2012)

Keywords

  • Nutritional information;
  • Food;
  • Supermarkets;
  • Sales data

Correspondence:

Corresponding author: Email j.p.van.t.riet@hva.nl

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