Cinema patrons don't change eating habits regardless of nutrition labels

People munching popcorn in a cinema don't change their eating habits whether the snacks are labelled high fat, low fat or not labelled at all, even if they are concerned about their weight, according to a new study led by the University of Greenwich.

But add in a third factor – the of eaters – and some quirky results emerge. When concerned eaters of higher status saw the low fat label, it made them eat more than their unconcerned counterparts.

Labels had the opposite effect on concerned lovers of lower status: they ate less of the low fat snack – and less of the high fat snack. But they did tuck in as normal to the unlabelled tub.

Dr Rachel Crockett, Senior Research Fellow at the university's Faculty of Education & Health, led the research. She says: "Nutritional labelling is being advocated by policy makers internationally, as a means to promote , but there has been very little research assessing the impact of labelling on eating behaviour in the general population.

"This research is important as it suggests that nutritional labelling may help people who want to lose weight from lower socioeconomic groups to eat more healthily."

The research paper, titled "The impact of nutritional labels and on energy intake: An experimental field study," has been published in international journal Appetite.

Nearly 300 participants who took part in the research attended a London cinema and were offered a large tub of salted or toffee popcorn. Participants received their selected flavour with one of three labels: a green low-fat label, a red high-fat label or no label. They then watched two film clips while completing measures of demographic characteristics, emotional state and taste of the popcorn. Following the experiment, popcorn consumption was measured.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Evidence stacks up in favour of dairy

Jun 30, 2014

Eating higher, compared to lower, amounts of cheese, milk, yoghurt or butter does not make a person more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer or any other cause, according to a systematic review ...

Habit makes bad food too easy to swallow

Sep 01, 2011

Do you always get popcorn at the movies? Or snack while you're on the couch watching television? A new paper by USC researchers reveals why bad eating habits persist even when the food we're eating doesn't taste good. The ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

22 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments