The authors report results of a mall-intercept study regarding the effects of health claims on consumer information search and processing behavior. Results suggest that the presence of health and nutrient-content claims on food packages induces respondents to truncate information search to the front panel of packages. Respondents who either truncate information search or view claims provide more positive summary judgments of products and give greater weight to the information mentioned in claims than to the information available in the Nutrition Facts panel. The presence of a claim also is associated with a halo effect (rating the product higher on other health attributes not mentioned in the claim) and, for one of the three products tested, a magic-bullet effect (attributing inappropriate health benefits to the product). The authors discuss the policy implications of these results for Food and Drug Administration health claim regulations.
Roe, B., Levy, A. S., & Derby, B. M. (1999). The impact of health claims on consumer search and product evaluation outcomes: Results from FDA experimental data. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. American Marketing Association. https://doi.org/10.1177/074391569901800110