Adapting the universal signals of traffic lights to food packaging

David Leonhardt’s “Budgets Behaving Badly” column from yesterday’s New York Times is a must-read for Nudge enthusiasts interested in how behavioral economics can be applied to public policy. One of the ideas in the column, also discussed in Nudge, is the redesign of fuel economy stickers. Another potential area for redesigned labels is food packaging, which one Nudge reader thought could benefit from a traffic light theme.

The Cancer Council of New South Wales in Australia is currently pushing the traffic light idea to help people make better nutritional decision making, following some field tests and surveys involving breakfast cereal, crispbread, and lasagna. (Hat tip to Stephen Laniel for pointing us to the study, which is here.)

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