The Nutrition Elite: Do Only the Highest Levels of Caloric Knowledge, Obesity Knowledge, and Motivation Matter in Processing Nutrition Ad Claims and Disclosures?
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
This study examines the role of the highest levels of caloric knowledge, obesity consequences knowledge, and motivation to search for nutrition information in the processing of relative nutrient content claims in advertisements, such as “half the calories” or “half the fat,” for products relatively high in total calorie levels. After controlling for the impact of demographics, dietary habits, body mass index, relative ad claims and disclosures, perceived weight gain risk, and other variables, the authors find curvilinear (quadratic) effects for caloric knowledge, obesity consequences knowledge, and motivation to search for nutrition information on intent to buy an advertised, high-calorie snack bar. This suggests a strengthening of the negative relationship for intent for consumers at the highest levels of caloric knowledge, obesity consequences knowledge, and motivation (i.e., the “nutrition elite”). The authors offer public policy implications, including whether achieving such exceedingly high levels of nutrition knowledge and motivation is realistic for the general public in light of other policy alternatives, such as market-based solutions (e.g., reducing serving sizes, standardized front-of-package icons).