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Nutritional Information: Traffic Light Labelling Is the Best Way to Reach Consumers

DIW Weekly Report 19 / 2010, S. 141-151

Kornelia Hagen

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More than half of German adults are overweight. Those most often affected include the elderly, poor, and individuals with poor education. Yet is overweight an issue that economists should address? Poor nutrition and lack of exercise play a major role in widespread diseases. One third of total health care expenditures are devoted to illnesses related to overweight. This is just one of the reasons why economists should examine how to promote more health-conscious nutritional decisions. One instrument favored by policy makers in this regard is nutrition labelling. At present, manufacturers display nutritional information on food packaging on a voluntary basis and in a non-standardised format. This is supposed to change. In the near future, the European Parliament will convene to debate the standardisation of nutritional information.

Topics: Consumers

JEL-Classification: D3;D11;D8
Keywords: Consumer policy, Behavioral economics, Labelling systems, Traffic light labelling, Nutrition and health
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