Impact of front-of-pack nutrition labels on portion size selection: An experimental study in a French cohort
Egnell M., Kesse-Guyot E., Galan P., Touvier M., Rayner M., Jewell J., Breda J., Hercberg S., Julia C.
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. In the European Union (EU) three coloured graded Front-of-Pack labels (FoPLs), two endorsed by governments (Nutri-Score and Multiple Traffic Lights (MTL)) and one designed by industry (Evolved Nutrition Label (ENL)) are currently being discussed. This study aimed to investigate the impact of these FoPLs on portion size selection, specifically for less healthy products. In 2018, participants from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort study (N = 25,772) were exposed through a web-based self-administered questionnaire to products from three food categories (sweet biscuits, cheeses, and sweet spreads), with or without FoPLs, and were invited to select the portion they would consume (in size and number). Kruskall-Wallis tests, and mixed ordinal logistic regression models, were used to investigate the effects of FoPLs on portion size selection. Compared to no label, Nutri-Score consistently lowered portion sizes (OR = 0.76 (0.74–0.76)), followed by MTL (OR = 0.83 (0.82–0.84)). For ENL, the effects differed depending on the food group: It lowered portion size selection for cheeses (OR = 0.84 (0.83–0.87)), and increased it for spreads (OR = 1.19 (1.15–1.22)). Nutri-Score followed by MTL appear efficient tools to encourage consumers to decrease their portion size for less healthy products, while ENL appears to have inconsistent effects depending on the food category.