The purpose of this paper is to explore understanding of a graphic equivalent to mandatory nutrition information tables.
The horizontal bar graphic’s single number shows the per cent content of the dominant nutrient, marked “Most”, contrasting with “Least” at the origin. A separate bar for energy is expressed as percentage of 3,700 kJ, the energy in 100 g of fat. Six randomised table and equivalent graph images were shown to subjects who answered questions about the foods’ energy, dominant nutrient and per cent content, and relative abundance of seven mandated nutrients. One trial tested 40 food science students, another 100 online Australasian consumers. Scores were compared by the χ2 test. Liking of the two formats was compared by t-test.
Correct online consumer responses were: energy – 18 per cent (tables), 71 per cent (graphics); dominant nutrient – 81, 96 per cent; per cent dominant nutrient – 43, 82 per cent. All differences were highly significant. Relative abundance questions created a 7 nutrient × 6 food matrix (42 combinations) where tables were more accurately understood 14 times (3 significant) and graphics 28 times (12 significant). Responses in the student trial paralleled the consumer trial; differences were less marked but with similar statistical significances. Consumers liked the graphic more.
The graphic format was more understandable than the table format, and would be useful in internet-based applications.
The graphic format represents a huge advance in understanding of mandatory nutrient information.
Young, O., Kantono, K., Waiguny, M., Hung, L. and Hamid, N. (2018), "A graphical equivalent to mandated nutrition information tables", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 4, pp. 777-787. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2017-0407Download as .RIS
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