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How nutrition information influences online food sales

Abstract

Although nutrition information informs consumer decisions at the point of sale in offline stores, it is unclear whether such information affects online food sales. Using a field experiment, we examine three issues: (1) the impact of nutrition information in online food shopping; (2) the interaction effects between nutrition information and seller reputation; and (3) the different effects of healthy and unhealthy food sales. Results indicate that nutrition information significantly increases food sales in online conditions and that seller reputation can strengthen the impact of such information. Furthermore, nutrition information creates more sales of healthy (versus unhealthy) food. Using an eye-tracking experiment to measure whether purchasers pay attention to nutrition information, we find that participants who look at nutrition information longer tend to choose foods with nutrition-fact labels.

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Acknowledgements

This research is partially funded by a research grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (CN) under project No. 71672047 and No.71490720.

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Correspondence to Peng Zou or Jingwen Liu.

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Eric Fang and Shrihari Sridhar served as special issue guest editors for this article.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Online sellers can design the layout of their product description with or without nutrition information. In this study, nutrition information mainly refers to nutrition-fact labels embedded in the product description pages. Figure 5 presents a screenshot of nutrition information in a Taobao.com store.

Fig. 5
figure 5

A screenshot of nutrition information on Taobao.com

Appendix 2

Table 8 Overview of the key literature examining the effects of nutrition information

Appendix 3

Table 9 Summary of results by study condition

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Zou, P., Liu, J. How nutrition information influences online food sales. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 47, 1132–1150 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-019-00668-4

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Keywords

  • Nutrition information
  • Online food sales
  • Seller reputation
  • Eye tracking