TABLE 2-1 Use of the Nutrition Information Panel in Canada

Categories of Answers Regarding the Use of Food Labelsa

Percent Responding Often or Sometimes Used

To see how high or how low a food is in nutrients like fat or sodium


To see how high or low a food is in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, or minerals


To get a general idea of the calorie content of a food


To compare similar types of food with each other


To compare different types of food with each other


To see if something said in the advertising or on the package is true


To figure out how much of a food product you or your family should eat


aThe question posed was: “You mentioned that you use the information on the Nutrition Information Panel. When you look at the Nutrition Information Panel on food packages, either in the store or at home, how often, if at all, do you use the information provided in the following ways?”

SOURCE: NIN (1999).

In this study various formats of nutrition labeling were presented. For macronutrients and micronutrients respondents preferred information presented as both actual amounts and % Recommended Daily Intake. However, less than half understood % Recommended Daily Intake before educational intervention. Over one-half of users said that nutrition labeling influenced their decision to buy a product; there were no age or gender differences.

Within the context of the history, current status, and use of nutrition labeling in the United States and Canada described in this chapter, the committee developed the guiding principles presented in Chapter 5. The next chapter provides an overview of fortification and provides the background for the guidance the committee presents in Chapter 6.

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