FoodFLIP: Testing the Effectiveness of a Food Information App to Promote the Selection of Healthier Foods

NCT ID: NCT02814604


Title
FoodFLIP: Testing the Effectiveness of a Food Information App to Promote the Selection of Healthier Foods
Purpose
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding nutrition information on food packages, thus making it difficult for consumers to choose healthy products. In today's busy and fast-paced shopping environment, mobile digital technology (for example, Smartphone applications) can help consumers make 'healthier' food choices when they are shopping. This study will investigate whether a traffic light front-of-pack system or an overall star rating system, coupled with an automated healthfulness comparison feature, on a Smartphone app can help consumers identify and purchase healthier foods.
Details
The rising rate of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases illustrate that Canadians' eating habits need to change. Equipping Canadians with information and tools to enable healthy food choices that decrease risk for disease is imperative. While the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) is the most standardized and complete form of nutrition labelling, studies have shown that consumers are confused about serving size, nutrient quantities, and the interpretation of the % Daily Value. Thus, expert groups have proposed the introduction of interpretive front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition rating systems (e.g. traffic light labelling or star ratings) that also help consumers understand the significance of the levels of nutrients in relation to the "healthiness" of a food. One of the main barriers to the introduction of such a system is the absence of high quality studies that objectively measure the impact of nutrition information on actual food purchases. This is a consequence of both the practical challenges associated with designing and conducting such studies in 'real-world' settings, and the lack of food industry support to quantitatively examine or publish the potential for enhanced nutrition labels to modify consumer food choices. With the growing burden of diet-related disease, there is an urgent need for robust evidence to evaluate the potential for additional interpretive nutrition labelling systems to modify and improve food purchasing patterns. Given the relative ubiquity of mobile digital technologies, our Canadian Smartphone application (FoodFLIP) provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to examine and improve consumers' diets. This study will investigate whether a traffic light FOP system or an overall star rating system, coupled with an automated healthfulness comparison feature, on a Smartphone app can help consumers identify and purchase healthier foods. Objective 1: To evaluate the effects of two technology-enabled FOP systems on the nutritional quality of foods purchased by consumers compared to a control, and analyze the moderating effects of key consumer characteristics, including nutrition literacy. Objective 2: To determine which of the two FOP systems support healthier food choices and are preferred by Canadian consumers.
Conditions
Consumer Behavior, Diet, Food, and Nutrition
Keywords
Front-of-Pack Labelling, Star rating system, Traffic light rating system, Consumer Behavior, Health Literacy, Mobile Apps, Nutrition Labeling, Healthy food choices
Source
University of Toronto
Sponsors
University of Toronto, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Dietitians of Canada
Status
Not yet recruiting
Acronym
Last Updated
26 Jun 2016
URL
Official Link
Citations/Publications
Key TJ, Schatzkin A, Willett WC, Allen NE, Spencer EA, Travis RC. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of cancer. Public Health Nutr. 2004 Feb;7(1A):187-200. Review.

Emrich TE, Qi Y, Mendoza JE, Lou W, Cohen JE, L'abbé MR. Consumer perceptions of the Nutrition Facts table and front-of-pack nutrition rating systems. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Apr;39(4):417-24. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0304.

The Standing Committee on Health. Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids. 2007

Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols (Phase II), Institute of Medicine. Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Promoting Healthier Choices. 2011 October 20.

Locations
Canada