Schedule of Events | Search Abstracts | Symposia | Invited Symposia | Poster Sessions | Data Blitz Sessions

Poster D138

Promoting Healthy and Eco-Friendly Food Choices: Mechanisms Underlying the Impact of Color-Coded Food Labels and Attentional Instructions

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Yijun Xu1 (, Remi Janet1, Ruien Wang1, Lisa Bas1, Anita Tusche1; 1Queen's University

Nutritional food labels can help make better choices. Color-coded food labels (traffic lights) that classify foods as green, yellow, or red according to their overall healthiness have been shown to encourage purchases of healthier foods. Likewise, color-coded labels on foods’ environmental impact (e.g., carbon footprint) have been proposed to increase eco-friendly consumption. In two laboratory studies, we examined how color-coded labels signaling food’s health or ecological impact alter food choices. Moreover, we tested the added benefit of directing attention to color-coded information on dietary choices. Participants (N=160) completed two versions of an established computerized food task, requiring 300 food choices under different conditions: with/without color-coded labels and with/without additional instructions to deliberate food healthiness/eco-impact. In color-coded conditions, visual cues (green, yellow, orange, red) signaled foods’ healthiness (health frame) or ecological impact (eco frame). Color-coded cues promoted healthy (health frame) and ecologically friendly (eco frame) food choices. Directing attention to color labels was significantly more effective in promoting healthy/eco-friendly choices than color label cues alone. Motion-tracking data (computer mouse trajectories during computerized food choices) suggest that changes in choice conflict (as captured in AUC, Area Under the Curve) might mediate color-label-induced changes in ‘good’ behavior. Results of a computational model of choice (drift-diffusion model) allowed examining changes in starting bias and evidence accumulation underlying altered choice behaviors. Our results shed light on how color-coded labels can change dietary patterns that impact personal health and the environment. These findings might help develop new interventions to address the obesity crisis and climate change.

Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making


CNS Account Login


April 13–16  |  2024