Brazilian food labeling: a new proposal and its impact on consumer understanding

Abstract The difficulty in understanding food labels demands their reformulation. The objective was to elaborate a proposal of nutritional labeling and to compare its understanding with current labels. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2016. Socioeconomic and health data were collected and questionnaires were used to evaluate reading and comprehension of the current label (Group A) and the proposed label (Group P). Student's t test and chi-square test (p <5%) were applied. A total of 980 consumers participated at supermarkets in a Brazilian capital, with 38.2 ± 13.9 years old, predominantly women, high school, family income of 2 to 4 minimum wages, without chronic disease, and Body Mass Index of 25,6 ± 4.7 kg/m2. Reading and comprehension were satisfactory for 54.1% and 36.1% of Group A and for 93.3% and 96.9% of Group P, respectively. Among the interviewees, 36.5% reported that the current label helped and 97.5% for the proposed label. All the answers had differences when comparing the groups (p <0.05) and the comprehension of the proposed label was higher (p = 0.026). Conclusion: the understanding of the proposed label was better than that of the current label, reinforcing the need for its reformulation.