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Snack Attack: Despite Labels, People Opt for Unhealthy Foods

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Snack Attack: Despite Labels, People Opt for Unhealthy Foods

Despite government organizations across the world advocating prominent labels on unhealthy foods, most consumers still aren't paying attention to them.

According to a new report from the U.K.-based organization Food Labeling to Advance Better Education for Life (FLABEL), consumers only casually glance at nutrition labels before making a purchase. The research observed shoppers from 84 different retail stores buying more than 37,000 products.

While more food products include nutrition information on the front of packages, this data isn't impacting food choices. FLABEL asserts the variety of different labeling approaches can make it difficult to determine nutrition value immediately, although many shoppers said they understood the foods they were buying weren't healthy.

"Motivation was a major factor affecting the impact of nutrition labels on the choices made by consumers," FLABEL advisor Professor Klaus Grunert, from Aarhus University in Denmark said. "When prompted, consumers were able to identify which products were healthier, but they did not use this information to choose which product they prefer."

Facts Up Front is one front-of-the-package label effort that has become popular among American food brands, displaying calorie counts as well as fat, protein and carb values.