The effect of gluten-free labels on consumer perceptions



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This study examined the effect of food label characteristics (e.g., color, frame, and image) on consumers’ perceived benefits of wheat, products with gluten-free labels, and gluten-free labels themselves. To determine the impact of gluten-free labels, the researchers developed four types of labels using different framing techniques and placed them on a pseudo pretzel product that can be manufactured to be gluten-free and a naturally gluten-free potato chip product. A convenience sample of 561 Amazon MTurkers was recruited for this study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 10 treatment groups. Results of this research project show gain and loss framing techniques are not effective in influencing consumers’ perceived healthiness and safety of food products; however, visual framing effects are shown to be significant in influencing perceptions. Results indicate consumers’ perceptions are more likely to be influenced by the product a gluten-free label is placed on, rather than the design of the label itself. Findings also suggest there is an association between consumers’ perceptions of risks and benefits associated with gluten consumption and their perceptions of wheat and products with gluten-free labels. The results of this study provide practical implications for both academia and industry. Overall, results show food producers and marketers often undervalue consumers’ knowledge level and overestimate their susceptibility to marketing strategies.



Framing, Gluten-free