Can nutrition labels and taxation be used to reduce sugar consumption?

Investigating the influence of front-of-package labelling and price on the food choices Canadians make

Dr. David Hammond

The labels used on food packaging can often be misleading to consumers, making it difficult to determine the nutritional value of a food.  CIHR and Health Canada are supporting research to study the choices Canadians make when purchasing food and to determine the labeling and taxation policies that would have the greatest impact on improving health.

Dr. David Hammond is a professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems. He also holds a CIHR-Public Health Agency of Canada Chair in Applied Public Health.

“CIHR is supporting research to improve the food environment in Canada, including ways to design better food labels and promote healthier dietary choices.”

Dr. David Hammond, a CIHR-funded researcher, studies how regulatory policies such as labeling requirements and sales taxes impact the consumers’ decisions.

Consumers perceive food labels as a highly credible source of nutritional information, and are a key element in the selection process when consumers purchase prepared foods and beverages. Dr. Hammond believes that providing consumers with a clear and simple summary of the product’s nutritional quality is an important step towards empowering Canadians to adopt healthy food purchasing habits. Dr. Hammond and his team will be investigating various types of information labels to determine which are easiest to read and understand. They will also study how a sales tax on foods and beverages that are high in sugar will affect consumers’ food and beverage purchasing decisions.

The results of their research will enable policymakers and industry to improve the nutritional information found on food products and to provide evidence to guide future policy development that will help improve the health of Canadians. 

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