Background: Nutrition labelling, as a way of communication between consumers and the food industry, allows them to make more conscious, informed and safe choices when purchasing food products. Simplified nutrition labelling systems are considered one of the best tools for the promotion of healthy eating habits.
Aim: This cross-sectional descriptive study aims to evaluate the use of the front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling in the food choices of Portuguese consumers, as a complement to the Nutritional Declaration, through an online survey.
Methods: The total sample consists of 120 Portuguese individuals, aged between 18-55 years. Data was collected during the January of 2022. Socio-demographic data, knowledge about food labelling and knowledge about FOP nutrition labelling systems (Nutrition Traffic Light and Nutri-Score) were collected.
Results: The results highlight a statistically significant association between gender and the choice to read food labels (p=0.004) and reveal that information expressed on nutrition labels affects consumers’ decision (p=0.015), both at the time of purchase. FOP system (p=0.014) as well as location (p=0.010) was preferred to traditional Nutrition Declaration, regarding food label reading. The interest in the product’s nutritional value appears to be the main significant motive for influencing label reading (p=0.021). No other statistical relevance was found.
Conclusion: To sum up, when purchasing, the information, location and design of nutrition labels tends to affect consumers’ decisions. Thus, food education campaigns amongst the population are necessary to minimize nutritional literacy gaps. However, future studies are needed to assess the impact of the Nutri-Score system on consumers’ food choices.
Keywords: Nutrition Labelling, Simplified Nutrition Labelling Systems, Front-of-Pack (Fop), Consumers, Food Choices.