Can nutrition rating systems be used in supermarkets to encourage healthier spending habits?
A new study by Cornell University researchers sought to answer that very question by tracking the purchasing records in a supermarket chain that uses the Guiding Stars System to rate the nutritional value of foods for sale.
The researchers, including Cornell Food and Brand Lab's David Just, PhD, and Brian Wansink PhD, author of Slim by Design (forthcoming), studied the sales records of over 150 Hannaford Supermarkets in the Northeastern United States between January 2005 and December 2007.
They collected data from over 60,000 Guiding Star rated food items. The Guiding Stars System brands items with zero, one, two or three star rating (with three stars being the most nutritious).
The amount of beneficial ingredients, such as vitamins and whole grains, are taken into account along with the amount of innutritious ingredients such as trans-fat or added sugars, both of which affect the nutritional rating of that item.
Researchers found that sales of less healthy foods – such as highly processed snack foods – fell by 8.31% when branded with a nutrition rating while the percentage of healthy food purchases rose by 1.39%.
The authors also noticed that the use of the Guiding Stars system led to an overall decline in supermarket sales. However, this is mainly due to the reduced amount of purchased "junk food."
According to lead author John Cawley, PhD, the decline in the sales of the less healthy foods was "perhaps the leading catalyst for the trend toward more nutritious food purchases." Previous studies may have not noticed this trend because they focused only on sales of foods with higher nutrition ratings.
Researchers concluded that nutrition rating systems, such as the Guiding Star system, may be worthwhile as they seem to lead consumers to purchase less "junk food" in favor of healthier options.
Sandra Cuellar | Eurek Alert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
13.12.2018 | Life Sciences
13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences