The Most Genius Food Packaging Designs Ever Created
How Food Packaging Fools You
Chew on this:People are more likely to think a food item is healthier if it has a green calorie label, according to a new study out of Cornell University.
The study, published in the journalHealth Communication,took place in two parts. First, 93 college undergraduates looked at a picture of one of two candy bars. The candy bars each had the same number of calories listed: 260. In fact, they were nearly identical—the only difference between them was that one had a green calorie label, and the other had a red calorie label. Yet the participants who looked at the photo of the green-labeled candy bar judged it to be significantly healthier and to have fewer calories than other candy bars.
“Green means go, and has generally positive associations, so we might see that as a green light to indulge,” says lead study author Jonathon Schuldt, PhD, an assistant professor of communication and director of Cornell’s Social Cognition and Communication Lab.
Since red can, of course, carry its own implications (Stop! Warning!), the researchers decided it was unclear whether it was the green or the red that caused the results—so they performed a second study. This time, 60 online participants looked at a candy bar with either a green or a white calorie label, and they answered a question about how much value they placed on healthy eating. Those who put a lot of weight on healthy eating thought the candy bar with the green label was healthier than the one with the white label.
“Even when we provided the participants with identical calorie information, the color was able to exert this effect,” says Schuldt.
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