Source: WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
GROCERY STORE SHELF LABELS, NUTRITION AND PRICING INFORMATION, AND CONSUMER CHOICE
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0203914
Grant No.
2005-35400-15982
Project No.
WNP03540
Proposal No.
2005-01743
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
61.0
Project Start Date
Sep 15, 2005
Project End Date
Sep 14, 2008
Grant Year
2005
Project Director
McCluskey, J. J.
Recipient Organization
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
240 FRENCH ADMINISTRATION BLDG
PULLMAN,WA 99164-0001
Performing Department
SCHOOL OF ECONOMIC SCIENCES
Non Technical Summary
The poor eating habits of Americans results in costly health problems. This project examines how consumers utilize the nutrition and price information on shelf labels.
Animal Health Component
(N/A)
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
60762993010100%
Knowledge Area
607 - Consumer Economics;

Subject Of Investigation
6299 - Marketing, general/other;

Field Of Science
3010 - Economics;
Goals / Objectives
The proposed research focuses on the effects of shelf label information on consumers' information preferences, information usage and purchasing behavior. The specific objectives include to measure the effects of including nutritional information on shelf labels on consumer purchasing decisions, to determine the influence of unit price information on shelf-labels on the decisions of consumers, to describe consumer preferences for information and format of shelf labels in the grocery store environment, and to use our results to make policy recommendations that could improve consumer welfare and diet quality.
Project Methods
Two consumer choice experiments are proposed to test the research objectives. Although each study makes use of distinct methodologies, both experiments manipulate the nature of nutrition and unit price information on shelf labels. The first study is a choice-based conjoint experiment wherein consumers are presented with a series of shelf labels for a single product and asked to select the labels they would prefer to see at the store(s) where they conduct the majority of their shopping. In contrast, the second study is a product choice experiment in which consumers are presented with a single shelf label for multiple product categories/brands and asked to shop for a small basket of grocery items. Both experiments will be collected at the same time to generate time and cost efficiencies.

Progress 09/15/05 to 09/14/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The outputs of this project include results from two studies. The first was a consumer choice experiment and survey in which consumer preferences for format of nutrition information on grocery store shelf labels was elicited. Consumers were asked to choose among the status quo (no nutrition information on shelf labels), detailed nutrition information, and summary nutrition information. Two journal articles (one published and one in review) will come from this first study. Also a doctoral dissertation was completed. In the second study, a field experiment was conducted. A simple experiment was used to examine the effect of grocery store nutrition labels on the sales of microwave popcorn. An incomplete demand system was used to estimate the impact of the nutrition labels on sales of healthy (products that merit a nutrition label) and unhealthy (products that do not merit a nutrition label) microwave popcorn. A journal article (to be submitted) will come from this study. Dissertation completed: Joshua Berning, Ph.D. 2008. Grocery Store Shelf Labeling and Consumer Choice. Presentations were made at the national retail chain's Corporate Headquarters (Pleasanton, CA) March 23, 2008, and at the Information, Policy, and the Food System, FAMPS/FSN Policy Conference Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington, D.C., March 10, 2008. One journal article is under peer review: Berning, J., H.H. Chouinard, K. Manning, J.J. McCluskey, and D. Sprott. "Identifying Consumer Preferences for Shelf-label Nutrition Information," submitted to Food Policy. One journal article is in preparation for submission. It is Berning, J., H.H. Chouinard, K. Manning, J.J. McCluskey, "Measuring the Impact of Nutrition Labels on Food Purchasing Decisions: A Field Experiment with Scanner Data," working paper to be submitted to American Journal of Agricultural Economics. PARTICIPANTS: Hayley Chouinard, national retail grocery chain TARGET AUDIENCES: Grocery stores, consumers, policy makers PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
The national retail grocery chain has used our nutrition shelf labels in test stores. Scanner data was examined in a pilot study to determine the impact of providing nutrition information on consumer purchases. Previous presentations have been made at professional meetings (e.g. the American Agricultural Economics Association meetings) and other universities (Penn State, North Dakota State, Cornell, Texas Tech, Michigan State, Arizona State, and the University of Washington). A website has been maintained.

Publications

  • Berning, J., H.H.Chouinard, and J.J.McCluskey. 2008. Consumer Preferences for Detailed versus Summary Formats of Nutrition Information on Grocery Store Shelf Labels. Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization. 6(1), article 6.
  • Berning, J., H.H. Chouinard, K. Manning, J.J. McCluskey, and D. Sprott. 2009. Identifying consumer preferences for shelf-label nutrition information, under review at Food Policy.


Progress 09/15/07 to 09/14/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: A Ph.D. student is completing his dissertation on this project (Joshua Berning, Ph.D. expected May 2008, Grocery Store Shelf Labeling and Consumer Choice). Two working papers are completed, which will be submitted to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and the Journal of Consumer Affairs. A third working paper is in progress, which will be submitted to a tier 1 economics journal. Presentations were made at Safeway Corporate Headquarters (Pleasanton, CA), USDA NRI project directors meeting (New Orleans), University of Washington, WSU, and the Western Ag. Econ. Annual Meetings (Portland). Presentations are scheduled at Michigan State University and Information, Policy, and the Food System, FAMPS/FSN Policy Conference Economic Research Service, USDA, Washington DC March 10, 2008. Interactions with Australia-New Zealand Food Standards Agency. PARTICIPANTS: Hayley Chouinard and Joshua Berning TARGET AUDIENCES: Grocery stores, consumers, policy makers PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Safeway has used our nutrition shelf labels in test stores. Scanner data is currently being examined in a pilot study to determine the impact of providing nutrition information on consumer purchases.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 09/15/06 to 09/14/07

Outputs
Pre-tests were conducted in 2005 and 2006 to identify an appropriate shelf label in which unit price information and nutrition information could be effectively manipulated at low and high prominence levels. In the first pre-test, a sample of participants (N = 363) rated a series of 8 shelf labels, which were developed for the purpose of this research and based on real-world labels. Based on this pre-test, we selected a label for our research and then pre-tested (N = 97) the prominence manipulations to ensure their impact on consumer perceptions. Further, 1200 Consumer surveys were conducted at Safeway stores. The surveys are currently being converted to an electronic form, and the econometric models will be estimated. Additional data will be collected via in-grocery-store economic experiments. A field study experiment will be in actual grocery stores. Shelf labels will be altered in a test store to have more prominent nutrition information, while the control store presents less prominent nutrition information. To assess the impact of these changes on shopper behavior, scanner data pertaining to the product categories selected for the study and club card information will be utilized.

Impacts
There is a growing concern about consumers' poor eating habits and general health. Given consumers' propensity for devoting minimal time and effort to processing grocery product information at the point of purchase, including nutrition information in a 'quick-and-easy-to-process' shelf-label format should decrease the search costs associated with obtaining this information and result in healthier product-selection decisions. This research will allow retailers to gain an improved understanding of the effects of including nutritional information on shelf labels.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 09/15/05 to 09/14/06

Outputs
This is a new project. A pre-test of different labeling formats was conducted and the PIs started work to establish a relationship with Safeway.

Impacts
The poor eating habits of Americans are one of the major public policy issues of our time. A significant portion of consumers dietary decisions are made inside the grocery store. A better understanding of how consumers utilize the nutrition and price information on shelf labels could be one aspect of the policy approach to fighting the epidemic of obesity in the United States. It is suggested that providing important information via shelf labels may lead to positive behavior changes in consumers at a relatively low cost.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period