Date of Award:

1988

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Bonita W. Wyse

Abstract

Nutrition labeling research suggests consumers want nutrition information on the label; however, many do not comprehend it. The purpose of Phase I was to determine the effect of: 1. two levels of nutrition label formats; 2. three levels of nutrition information load on consumers' preference for product choice using adaptive conjoint analysis. A computer interactive interview was conducted on 252 consumers in Crossroads Mall, Salt Lake City, Utah. label alternatives were printed on soup cans to realistically portray the information. The conjoint analysis compared the attributes, nutrition information format, and nutrition information load in addition to brand and price and determined how the study participants ranked choices within each of these attributes and against the other attributes. There were significant differences (p < .000) among all three mean utility values± Standard Error of the Mean (SEM) of information load, most (.300 ± .03) , more (.154 ± .02), and some (-.231 ± .03). There was no difference between graphical (.093 ± .027) and traditional (.055 ± .020) formats (p = .298). For the other attributes, there were significant differences (p < .000) among all brands, Campbell's (.590 ± .03), Private label (-.007 ± .02) Generic (-.361 ± .03) and all prices, (p < .000), low (.431 ± .03), medium (.022 ± .02), and high (-.230 ± .03). Market simulations were performed and market share was shifted from the major brand when nutrition information was added to a Private label or Generic brand.

The purpose of Phase II was to determine the effect of: 1. three levels of nutrition information content load; 2. two levels of nutrition information order; 3. three levels of nutrition information format; and 4. four levels of nutrition information expression on consumers' perceptions of label usefulness in purchase decisions. The methodology was the same as Phase I. There were significant differences (p < .000) among all three mean utility values ± SEM of information load, most (.327 ± .02), more (.091 ± .02) , and some (-.213 ± .03), and between the two mean utility values ± SEM of information order, rearranged (.157 ± .03) and traditional (-.02 ± .02). Consumers significantly preferred (p < .000) the graphical format (.148 ± .02) over the graphical nutrient density (.038 ± .02) and traditional (.018 ± .03) formats. Consumers significantly preferred (p < .000) nutrition information stated in absolute numbers and percentages (.296 ± .03), versus absolute numbers only (.028 ± .03), traditional (-.026 ± .03), and percentages only (-.025 ± .03) expressions. The most useful nutrition label in a purchase decision was one that contained the most information, in a rearranged order, with a graphical format, and an absolute number and percentages expression.

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