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Are Nutrition Labels Useful for the Purchase of a Familiar Food? Evidence from Chinese Consumers’ Purchase of Rice

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Nutrition labeling has been accepted by Chinese consumers as an information source to learn about food quality and safety. This paper uses Chinese consumers’ rice purchase as an example to study how consumers use food nutrition labels to make purchase decision of a familiar food product. The goal is to understand how consumers seek information from the labels to make purchase when extensive experience with the food has been developed. Survey data from 400 random respondents in Beijing were analyzed using an empirical framework and a Mont Carlo integral econometrics model. We find that more than 50% of the consumers in Beijing have heard of food nutrition labels in general, 36.50% carefully use label information even if they are familiar with the food, and nearly 70% consider mandatory food nutrition labels as beneficial. Those who are more knowledgeable about rice nutrition labels are more likely to use the labels when purchasing rice, no matter how familiar they are with the product. Frequent users of nutrition labels are more likely to consider food mandatory nutrition labels as beneficial. This study suggests that consumers still use the label information to reassure the quality and safety of food despite a history of consumption.


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