Abstract

The excess consumption of unhealthy snack foods by children and young adults has been shown to increase their rate of development of obesity, as well as decrease their likelihood of meeting current U.S. nutritional recommendations. Nutritional messages on snack food product labels have been traditionally evaluated almost exclusively from the perspective of the verbal content of the message. While such messages are important for communicating factual information, they do not address the potential significance of the visual qualities of that message in appropriately communicating with the target audience. The visual properties of the nutritional messages are critical in their ability to immediately create a sense of importance, trustworthiness, and social acceptance by the target audience. The role of design factors on snack packages is not well researched, particularly from the standpoint of influencing selection and snack food choice in children. The objective of this research is to examine the role of typography, images, brand and health messages, and stylistic treatments with regard to their ability to impact the visual communication of packages to children ages 9-13. From these design variables, the “preferred-selections” of these children were identified. In addition to gaining information about the role of these design variables on children’s decision-making process, the role of health and nutrition messages were also evaluated with regard to their impact on children’s decision-making. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a health communication strategy for snack packages and to develop a methodology for tailoring messages to children ages 9-13 that encourages the selection of healthy snack food options

Keywords

package design, children, health communication strategy

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Tailoring Snack Food Package Design to Children as a Health Communication Strategy

The excess consumption of unhealthy snack foods by children and young adults has been shown to increase their rate of development of obesity, as well as decrease their likelihood of meeting current U.S. nutritional recommendations. Nutritional messages on snack food product labels have been traditionally evaluated almost exclusively from the perspective of the verbal content of the message. While such messages are important for communicating factual information, they do not address the potential significance of the visual qualities of that message in appropriately communicating with the target audience. The visual properties of the nutritional messages are critical in their ability to immediately create a sense of importance, trustworthiness, and social acceptance by the target audience. The role of design factors on snack packages is not well researched, particularly from the standpoint of influencing selection and snack food choice in children. The objective of this research is to examine the role of typography, images, brand and health messages, and stylistic treatments with regard to their ability to impact the visual communication of packages to children ages 9-13. From these design variables, the “preferred-selections” of these children were identified. In addition to gaining information about the role of these design variables on children’s decision-making process, the role of health and nutrition messages were also evaluated with regard to their impact on children’s decision-making. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a health communication strategy for snack packages and to develop a methodology for tailoring messages to children ages 9-13 that encourages the selection of healthy snack food options

 

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