Julia C; Péneau S; Buscail C; González R; Touvier M; Hercberg S; Kesse-Guyot E. - - BMJ Open 2017; 7 (6):

Perception of different formats of front-of-pack nutrition labels according to sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors in a French population: cross-sectional study among the NutriNet-Santé cohort participants

Objective Four formats for a front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition label are currently considered in France: the Nutriscore (or 5-Colour Nutrition Label, developed by a public research team), the SENS (supported by retailers), Multiple Traffic Lights (MTL, currently used in UK) and a modified version of the Reference Intakes (mRIs, supported by industry). Our objective was to investigate the perception of these FOP labels, according to sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Setting Web-based French cohort.

Main outcome measure FOP labels perception.

Participants Participants in the NutriNet-Santé cohort received a specific questionnaire on the perceptions of the four label formats identified. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary data (three 24-hours dietary records) were collected through self-administered questionnaires. Mutually exclusive clusters of FOP labels perception were identified through a multiple correspondence analysis followed by a hierarchical clustering procedure. Sociodemographic, lifestyle and dietary factors associated with the clusters were explored using multivariable multinomial logistic regression. All analyses were weighted according to 2009 French census data.

Results Among the 21,702 participants in the study, the Nutriscore received the most important number of favourable responses on positive perception dimensions by participants, followed by MTL and SENS. The five identified clusters were characterised by marked preferences for Nutriscore (cluster 1, 43.2% of participants, crude n=9,399), MTL (cluster 2, 27.3%, crude n=6,163), SENS (cluster 3, 17.05%, crude n=3,546), mRIs (cluster 4, 7.31%, crude n=1,632) and none of the presented formats (cluster 5, 5.10%, crude n=965). The cluster 1 (Nutriscore) was associated with lower adherence to nutritional recommendations, while cluster 2 (MTL) was associated with younger age and higher level of education.

Conclusion The Nutriscore appears to have a wide reach in the population and to appeal to subjects with lower adherence to nutritional recommendations