A lot of food labels have become ubiquitous over the past couple of decades, but the food industry has never been one to shy away from using it to mislead consumers.
And now, it appears that some brands are starting to take the term out of the equation.
Food brands including Johnson & Johnson, Kelloggs and Mars have all adopted a zero-rating policy for ingredients, which means that they don’t charge extra for their ingredients if they don.
But there are a few brands that still use the term ‘crappy food’ in their labels.
Now, a new study has found that a whopping 80% of food brands have switched to using a zero rating system in their ingredients.
The researchers from the University of Queensland say that the label-less trend is driven by a few reasons: consumers are more likely to associate a brand with quality ingredients, so they will buy more products containing those ingredients.
And many consumers are less likely to buy expensive food brands because they see that brands that are made with lower quality ingredients have a negative reputation.
While it’s a relatively small number of food companies that are adopting zero-rated labels, the trend has had a significant impact on consumers, said lead author Dr. Paula Viscardi.
“It has had an impact on the food supply and the health of our society.
People are less willing to buy foods that are not made from quality ingredients,” she said.
The team found that, while this was not a huge change, it was a significant step towards the elimination of the term “crap” from the food labels.
“This was a small study, and it is still a very small change, but it shows the power of zero rating,” she told Business Insider.
But what about the health impact of zero-ratings?
While the study does not look at the effect of zero ratings on consumers’ health, Dr. Viscini said that it was important to look at how the term has impacted the food environment.
“There’s been a lot of focus on how the consumer has been misled by zero-rate labeling and the negative reputation of the labels,” she explained.
“But we don’t know what is actually behind these perceptions.
It’s very hard to find data on the actual health effects of zero rates, because it’s difficult to measure consumer perceptions of their food.”
One of the reasons that consumers don’t believe food labels are misleading is because they are often misleading.
“A lot of people associate the term with bad taste, and this is because there’s no scientific evidence that people really are fooled by zero ratings,” Dr. David Mennella, a nutritionist and food critic at the University at Buffalo, told Business Insights.
“If a brand advertises something that is not good, and the consumer says ‘it tastes bad’, then they will be more likely not to buy that product.”
Dr. Vincardi said that the new study was important because it showed that consumers are not just buying more food with zero ratings, they are also buying less of it.
“The consumer is now much more aware of the fact that these labels have been put in place,” she noted.
“They’re becoming more aware that they can make informed decisions about what they eat and how much they eat.”
Ultimately, we’re hoping that consumers will start to shift towards a zero ratio policy for food.
“But while the study has some interesting findings, it does not prove that the zero rating is harmful.”
In my opinion, the results of this study do not prove there is a causal relationship between zero rating and poor health outcomes,” Dr Mennelli added.