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Do Easy-to-Read Food Labels Increase Purchases?


The way that various different food and drink companies brand and package their products has grown in importance over the years, with many businesses trying to outdo one another when it comes to a product’s aesthetics and design. However, recent studies have suggested that one of the most important factors in increasing consumer purchases on a product is how easy-to-read the label is, so what are the implications of this?

Research into the psychology of food labelling conducted by Caroline Werle, an Associate Professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management, has found that the simple, easy-to-read food labels are the ones that increase the likelihood of consumers thinking that they will enjoy the product and therefore trigger a purchase. This could be because the food purchasing experience is made a whole lot more pleasurable if a label is easy to process, and the product therefore becomes more appealing to the consumer.

The research was carried out over two experiments which brought together a total of 584 participants, and the products in the study were both healthy and unhealthy, with either easy-to-read or difficult-to-read food labels. The results showed that the consumers were much more willing to purchase food with an easy-to-read label, regardless of whether the food was healthy or unhealthy.

The results of this study open our eyes to what people want to see in regards to purchasing food products, however the downside is that in the case of unhealthy products, to make somebody believe that they will enjoy it is easy through simplifying the label. Should a healthy product have a detailed label which takes more effort to read, it would appear that the consumer would avoid this in favour of an easy-to-read unhealthy product.

One way to solve this problem could be the standardisation of all food labelling, which could be the way forward, but whether we will see action taken based on the results of this study we shall have to wait and see.

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