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Advantages and Limitations of the Front-of-Package (FOP) Labeling Systems in Guiding the Consumers’ Healthy Food Choice

DOI: 1234567

Keywords: nutritional labelling , Front – of – Package systems , “Traffic Light” , Guideline Daily Amounts” , consumer perception , food choice

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Abstract:

In the last decades, nutrition labels have provided an increasing amount of information about the nutritional value of a foodstuff, in a variety of patterns, having the main goal to help consumers in making healthier food choices. Now, many questions appeared related to the effectiveness of nutrition information in guiding the consumer purchasing behaviour, by encouraging the healthy foods choice. It becomes increasingly clear that many consumers have difficulties in understanding the nutritional information, preferring a simpler way in providing this information, helping them in the rapid evaluation of the nutritional characteristics of a foodstuff. In response to the obvious need to develop a more effective presentation of nutritional information, which convey this information in a simplified and systematic manner, manufacturers and retailers from different countries have created some systems for signalling the nutritional profile. For the nutritional information of greatest interest to be easily perceived by consumers, they have used various forms of graphical representation, that were marked on the front of individual packages (generically called "front of package" - FOP). Although created in order to facilitate healthy food choices, the effect of these FOP systems on consumers is now controversial. Following a literature review, the paper highlights the main benefits and limitations of the widely used FOP systems in the European Union ("Traffic Light" and "Guideline Daily Amounts"). The paper presents also some suggestions for developing an optimal FOP system, standardized and adapted to consumers` needs.

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