Does attention to health labels predict a healthy food choice? An eye-tracking study

Anna Fenko (Corresponding Author), Iris Nicolaas, Mirjam Galetzka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
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Visual attention to health labels can indicate a subsequent healthy food choice. This study looked into the relative effects of Choices logos and traffic light labels on consumers’ visual attention and food choice. A field experiment using mobile eye-tracking was conducted in a Dutch university canteen. Participants (N = 48) walked to the shopping area wearing an eye-tracking device and chose one pack of yoghurt out of 12 from the refrigerated shelf. The packages varied in health label format (traffic light label, the Choices or no logo), fat content (low-fat, semi-fat and full fat), and brand. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions: with or without time constraint. The results revealed that participants fixated longer and more often on the traffic light labels compared to the Choices logos. Participants in the time constraint condition demonstrated less visual attention to health labels compared to participants without time constraint. General Health Interest (GHI) moderated the effect of time constraints. The condition without time constraints increased attention to health labels for participants with high GHI, but not for participants with low GHI. However, visual attention to health labels was a poor predictor of the subsequent healthy choice. The results suggest that attention to health labels might indicate the interest towards an unfamiliar food label, but it does not necessarily indicate a healthier food choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalFood quality and preference
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Health labels
  • Food choice
  • General Health Interest
  • Mobile eye tracking
  • Visual attention


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