Consumer Perception of the Healthfulness of Ultra-processed Products Featuring Different Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling Schemes

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To examine the influence of front-of-pack nutrition information on the perception of healthfulness of ultra-processed products across 2 income levels.


A between-participants design was used to compare healthfulness perception of ultra-processed products featuring different front-of-pack nutrition information schemes (guideline daily amount system, traffic light system, and monochromatic traffic light system).


A total of 300 people (aged 18–70 years, 75% female) from Montevideo, Uruguay, participated in the study; half were middle- or high-income people and the other half were low-income people.

Main Outcome Measures:

Participants were shown the labels of each product and asked to rate their perceived healthfulness and the frequency with which each product should be consumed.


Results were analyzed using analysis of variance for statistical significance (P < .05).


Low-income participants perceived ultra-processed products to be significantly (P < .05) more healthful than did middle- and high-income participants. The lowest perceived healthfulness scores for low-income participants were obtained for products featuring the colored and monochromatic traffic light system whereas no significant differences (P > .05) among schemes were found for middle- and high-income participants.

Conclusions and Implications:

Nutrition education programs aimed at increasing low-income people's knowledge of the nutritional composition of these products and their potential negative effects on health seem to be necessary. Although the inclusion of semidirective front-of-pack nutrition information decreased the perceived healthfulness of low-income people, it seemed unlikely to influence how they perceive these products.

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