Food selection and consumption is a complex phenomenon, influenced by sensory and non-sensory food characteristics and also by labeling, which plays an important role in consumer responses, influencing the expectations and perceptions of the product (Chiou, Yeh, & Chang, 2009; Shepherd, Sparks, & Raats, 1991). Hence, current provision of disclosure food’s nutrition information is one of the most critical elements in foods packaging. Some foods even highlight such kind of information to make it different from others so as to win the consumers. Will these information influence consumers purchasing decision and what’s their response to the nutrition disclosure?
To begin with, I will briefly talk about the reasons attributing to the nutrition reveal. Nowadays, obesity and health is considered as of great importance among consumers. Therefore, when purchasing food to some extent they will estimate the nutrition amount contained in the food, such as calories, protein and etc. However, research made by the New York Times showed that people generally have difficulty in estimating such nutrition amounts due to the fact that consumers feel surprised by the calorie content of menu items such as some salads and chicken sandwiches, which at times are much less healthful than consumers expect (Tangari, 2010). From early studies, it is proved that consumers tend to: “(1) underestimate calories more for unhealthful meals than healthful meals; (2) overestimate calories in very low-calorie meals. (3) Accuracy of consumers’ calorie estimates will differ across restaurants. Consumers will underestimate calories more for meals from restaurants where their perceptions of healthfulness are less accurate, relative to meals at restaurant where consumers have more accurate perceptions of the healthfulness” （Tangari et al, 2010). According to what mentioned above, providing calorie information appears to be especially important for food and restaurants about which consumers may have a misperception of the healthfulness of the meals in general, as well as for very high-calorie meals.
Such bias in estimating calories and nutrition is able to influence consumers purchasing decisions. If you overestimated the amount, consumers are more likely to be positively motivated to purchase the food. While if you underestimate the amount, the purchasing desire will be decreased. Whereas, when it comes to the post- episode consumption, the results of MANOVA indicate that the provision of nutrition information that is contrary to prior expectations can have a significant influence on subsequent food consumption. After consumers have been presented with information that implies the food previously consumed was higher in calories, fat, and saturated fat than expected, fewer calories were consumed in subsequent consumption episodes. The chart below can more intuitively interpret it (Howlett et al, 2012).
Nevertheless, consumers have different expectations for different products so that not all nutrition disclosures showing healthier consumption will result in an affirmative effect. Taking biscuit for example, consumers’ aim to buy such stuff is to enjoy their afternoon tea or to satisfy a carving for good foods so the taste is the most important factor. Additionally, less calories, more nutrition elements to some degree lay a negative impression on consumers due to the fact that healthier food mostly scarifies its good taste (Carrillo et al, 2012). Therefore, the striking nutrition disclosure of hedonistic-oriented products is possible to hinder consumers’ purchasing decision.
Then, how can such nutrition disclosure be more beneficial? I concludes two tips.
(1) Mohr and others (2012) proposed that “marketers should consider reducing serving sizes (health framing), especially in product categories or segments in which consumers are calorie conscious.” When conducting promotion, marketers should emphasize more on the nutrition amount and avoid mentioning the weight of a serving.
(2) When packaging and displaying nutrition information, sellers avoid significant disclosure for hedonistic-oriented foods and emphasis more of nutrition amount for foods related to health since consumers do not want to scarifies the taste on such foods.