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Use and influence of nutrition labelling: an emerging market experience

Ketki Gupta (School of Business Studies, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India)
Khushdeep Dharni (School of Business Studies, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




An attempt was made to explore the use of nutrition labelling in the Indian context. The purpose of this paper is to study the determinants of healthier food choices, as well as the role of label use in this context.


Data were collected from 150 respondents using the survey method and field experiment. The respondents were enquired about various aspects of label use and were asked to make a choice, from two products in three food product categories, on the basis of real information. Multivariate probit models were built for product choice situations.


Moderate to low use of nutrition labelling was found. Significant differences in label use were found on the basis of gender (Sugar (p = 0.011), Additives (p = 0.014), Proteins (p = 0.03)) and education (Additives (p = 0.002), Colouring agents (p = 0.003), Transfats (p < 0.001)). Higher label use was leading (p = 0.031) to more likelihood of choosing healthier potato chips. Women reported higher label use (p = 0.004) but were choosing relatively unhealthier health supplement (p = 0.003). Effect of price was not unidirectional in terms of making healthier food choices. It was observed that label use is not solely responsible for aiding the choice of healthier food products. Individual characteristics were playing important role in choice of food products.

Practical implications

Findings indicate that merely provision of label information is not adequate for the choice of better food options. Provision of labelling information in simple format and equipping the consumers to make effective use of the same carry importance.


The paper is original and makes an attempt to study the effect of label use, along with the individual characteristics, on healthier food choices. Given the availability of few studies in the domain from the emerging markets, the paper adds to the existing body of knowledge.



Gupta, K. and Dharni, K. (2016), "Use and influence of nutrition labelling: an emerging market experience", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 441-456.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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