Decreasing The Health Halo Effect

Decreasing The Health Halo Effect

It is difficult for consumers to differentiate and make healthy choices between products when there is a wide variation in serving sizes and nutritional values. So, increasing the amount of information will not help.

The best way to tackle it is for writers, companies and consumers to ensure that people can understand the context and the information already existing on their labels.

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Health

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Research On ‘Health Halos’

Protein bars are perceived as having an increased protein content and as healthier overall when the label reads “protein bar“ and “good source of protein. ”

The ‘Health Halo’ Effect

A ‘health halo’ occurs when a single health buzzword or claim causes a consumer to have other unsubstantiated positive impressions of the product.

Health halos in food advertising take the form of short messages on food packaging about the health benefits of an item. Product labels containing the words ‘low fat’, ‘organic’ and ‘gluten-free’ are perceived as healthy choices and influence consumer purchasing behaviors.

Health Buzzwords

... like ‘protein’, ‘paleo’ and ‘organic’ are used in marketing as key selling points for many of today’s health products. Yet these words can also trick consumers into believing a product is healthier than it really is.

Inaccurate health messages can be dangerous as they don’t help to educate consumers to make informed choices and are often in conflict with credible, accurate health information. 

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Organic junk food is still junk food

From a macronutrient perspective, organic junk foods are often identical to their conventional counterparts. 

They tend to be equally high in sugar and low in protein and fiber, which makes food less satiating and more likely to cause health problems long term.

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IDEAS

Agave Syrup

A popular sugar alternative and touted as a “healthy sweetener.” it doesn’t cause as great a surge in blood sugar levels as sugar does but it has more calories and shouldn’t be used in unlimited quantities.

Research On The Health Halo Effect
  • This effect often leads to consumers confusing “low fat” with “low calorie”, which results in the overconsumption of the former.
  • When choosing between similar products with different names, consumers prefer products with healthier-sounding names.
  • If you are eating at a restaurant you believe is healthy, you assume that the food choices you are making are healthy as well.
  • People who think their meal is healthy are more likely to add side dishes, drinks and desserts, resulting in over twice as many additional calories.
  • Items marketed by firms known as socially responsible stewards are assumed to be better and healthier products.

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