(Nutrition facts label via wikipedia)
This morning I was reading about an experiment involving nutrition labels. Scientists wanted to get an idea of how the placement of Nutrition Facts labeling affects viewing. So they presented 203 people at the University of Minnesota with a computer simulated grocery list and studied their eye movements. The participants also completed a survey in which they self-reported on the items viewed.
Interestingly, the participants' actual viewing of the Nutrition Facts was much lower than what they had reported. Placement made all the difference. Researchers had tracked the participants' eye movements and noted that information located at the top of the label got more attention than those at the bottom, and information located in the center of the screen received more views than those placed along the sides.
The experiment revealed that people pay less attention to labels than they might think. People are more likely to notice eye catching in-your-face visual stimuli. When objects are not within one's direct line of sight, there's a very strong chance that it will be ignored.
The scientists who conducted the experiment concluded that placing labels on the front of packs could improve public health.
What do you think? Does the University of Minnesota experiment reflect your behavior? Do you pay attention to nutrition labels? Tell us in the comments.
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Graham, DJ and Jeffery RW. Location, Location, Location: Eye-Tracking Evidence that Consumers Preferentially View Prominently Positioned Nutrition Information. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2011.08.055
"Nutrition Labels: Put Them In The Right Place" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.