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Symbols, such as traffic lights, on menus effective in educating diners
Date:3/13/2013

thy. While this logic is often used, unfortunately, it's not sound. In actuality, by adding any type of meat or dressing to a full-portion salad, the salad quickly approaches the threshold for red-light foods."

Ellison says the symbol doesn't necessarily have to be a traffic light.

"It could very well be something else," she said. "The traffic light is being used in the U.K. and Australia in a slightly different form, but since it's being used elsewhere, we wanted to try it here. You could use a star rating system or some other variation, but negative information" in this case, a red traffic light "seems to affect people more than positive."

The study also asked respondents which type of label they preferred.

"It turns out that the traffic light was the least preferred even though it was the most effective," she said. "The numeric label, however, was the most well liked, which struck us as odd. It seems as though people want the information, but they don't necessarily want to be told how to apply it. In other words, they want to know how many calories are in foods, but they don't think it's our job to tell them whether those foods are good or bad."


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Contact: Phil Ciciora
pciciora@illinois.edu
217-333-2177
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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