At ScienceByDesign, we're about science and creativity. Our latest ScienceBurst features a topic that needs an injection of both.
The latest research on nutrition labels shows why labels are neither creative nor scientific. Nutrition labels are meant to educate consumers about what they eat and, in theory, lead to healthier purchases. In the U.S., however, these labels pack confusing text, jargon, and numbers into a black and white label that consumers don't understand.
Several recent studies found that this design doesn't help consumers make healthier purchases. Perhaps counterintuitively, labels that are simple and colorful can be more helpful to consumers. (Though is this counterintuitive? A basic principle of science communication - flooding people with information rarely helps.)
Could the U.S. abandon its dry, dense labels in favor of a more colorful approach? A recent team of researchers answered this question using a database of 175,000+ food products in the U.S. They showed what nutrition labels would look like if the U.S. adopted "traffic light" labels that are more common in other countries.
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