Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
How front-of-package (FOP) nutrition icon systems affect product evaluations for more and less healthful objective nutrition profiles is a critical question facing food marketers, consumers, and the public health community. We propose a conceptually-based hierarchical continuum to guide predictions regarding the effectiveness of several FOP systems currently used in the marketplace. In Studies 1a and 1b, we compare the effects of a broad set of FOP icons on nutrition evaluations linked to health, accuracy of evaluations, and purchase intentions for a single product. Based on these findings, Studies 2 and 3 test the effects of two conceptually-different FOP icon systems in a retail laboratory in which consumers make comparative evaluations of multiple products at the retail shelf. While there are favorable effects of each system beyond control conditions with no FOP icons, results show that icons with an evaluative component that aid consumers’ interpretations generally provide greater benefits (particularly in product comparison contexts). We offer implications for consumer packaged goods marketers, retailers, and the public policy and consumer health communities.