Can traffic light labelling nudge heuristical decision processes?



Erdem S & Campbell D (2022) Can traffic light labelling nudge heuristical decision processes?. Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy.

This research investigates the effect of different front-of-pack nutritional labelling on individuals’ decision-making processes and food choices. To do this, we combine a stated choice experiment, a preference elicitation technique, with an eye-tracking experiment to explore the tendency to make fast (or slow) decision-making processes. Our results show that when the tendency to make fast decisions decreases, the probability of ignoring an alternative also decreases. We also find that the labelling format plays an important role in influencing visual fixation and the probability of considering a choice alternative. Most importantly, we find that these effects are more prominent for unhealthy products compared to healthy products. The results have important implications for the food industry and the policy-makers regarding the front-of-pack labels. The findings show that labels using traffic light colour coding are more likely to help consumers process information than other formats, such as no-colour coded numeric labels. This gives insights into other areas where communication is delivered via labels to encourage people to make informed choices.

Front-of-pack labelling; food choice; decision-making; eye-tracking; latent variable model

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy

StatusIn Press
FundersUniversity of Edinburgh
Publication date online30/04/2022
Date accepted by journal05/10/2021
Publisher URL…s/JBEP-6-1-4.pdf

People (2)


Professor Danny Campbell
Professor Danny Campbell

Professor, Economics

Professor Seda Erdem
Professor Seda Erdem

Professor, Economics

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