Does the new nutrition facts panel help compensate for low numeracy skills? An eye-tracking analysis

Carola Grebitus, George C. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Consumers often neglect nutrition information when food shopping, and even those attending to the information can have comprehension difficulties correlated with numeracy skills. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration redesigned the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) to enable consumers to use the information more easily. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether consumers will pay more attention to the improved NFP compared to the original NFP, and how their numeracy skills affect the attention. We study the effect of NFP modifications on attention while controlling for the individual's numeracy skills. Data stem from a laboratory experiment using eye-tracking. The experiment has two treatments measuring attention towards the original and modified NFP for a basket of groceries. Participants’ numeracy skills are measured using the Subjective Numeracy Scale. We test whether the new NFP can compensate for low numeracy skills. Results show that the original NFP receives more attention when numeracy skills are higher. However, the modifications to the NFP can help compensate for this numeracy effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAgricultural Economics (United Kingdom)
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

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eyes
nutrition
groceries
food purchasing
nutrition information
Numeracy
Nutrition
stems
testing

Keywords

  • Health literacy
  • I12
  • Numeracy ability
  • Nutrition information
  • Q18
  • Subjective Numeracy Scale
  • Visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

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abstract = "Consumers often neglect nutrition information when food shopping, and even those attending to the information can have comprehension difficulties correlated with numeracy skills. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration redesigned the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) to enable consumers to use the information more easily. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether consumers will pay more attention to the improved NFP compared to the original NFP, and how their numeracy skills affect the attention. We study the effect of NFP modifications on attention while controlling for the individual's numeracy skills. Data stem from a laboratory experiment using eye-tracking. The experiment has two treatments measuring attention towards the original and modified NFP for a basket of groceries. Participants’ numeracy skills are measured using the Subjective Numeracy Scale. We test whether the new NFP can compensate for low numeracy skills. Results show that the original NFP receives more attention when numeracy skills are higher. However, the modifications to the NFP can help compensate for this numeracy effect.",
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