In my research proposal I have talked about the existing nutritional label design in the market. Many studies on improving labels were made mainly in the Europe, UK and U.S. looking at whether people read them correctly; is the information sufficient to the readers or does the information on the labels comprehend the meaning to the readers. They have also roped in well-known designers to gain feedback on the newly design nutrition labels in the process.
However, there has been no in-depth design project with the goal of finding a suitable nutritional label for the Malaysian market, in the area of how the information is designed and presented whereby the aesthetic value and attention are the prime commodities for a product to meaningfully inform the consumers to make educated purchase. Hence, I’m interested to draw a significant contribution towards making the existing nutritional labels a more conducive selection of well-informed choices.
At this early stage of research, I’m looking at some existing nutritional label designs in Malaysian hypermarkets. My intention is to find out if these existing design can work as an example or guideline to better improve the Malaysia government-mandated nutritional label design on local products. There are a few common elements used on existing label:
- Verbal banding – This format use verbal description to define nutrient values as high, medium and low. They are used as additions to the numerical values in nutrition table to qualitatively evaluate the nutrient.
- Traffic light scheme – Shares the same cut-off points with verbal banding of presenting values using colour (red for high, amber for medium, green for low).
- Colour coded Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) – Numerical systems that present nutrient amounts in relation to recommended daily values for average women.
- Integrated labelling – A single symbol to evaluate the quality of food, trying to qualitatively evaluate a product as a whole instead of presenting a breakdown of specific values.
- Health logo/ F&B related logos – Used to point out healthier products in specific food category/ specific diet such as vegetarian/ in Malaysian context, Halal logo shows the product is suitable for Muslims.