Front of package nutritional warning labels (black stamps) that identify excess salt, sugar, fat and saturated fat are a known and accepted practice by Uruguayans who recognize the value of accurate and easily interpreted nutritional information.

This report from the University of the Republic and UNICEF shows that:

  • Consumers understand nutritional information better when stamps are present than if they are not, as they can better identify healthier products.
  • The nutritional information on the back of the package is not used by consumers. In the supermarket study, none of the participants read the nutritional information and only 2% turned the packaging around to check the information on the back of the product.
  • Several study participants were surprised to see the front of package labeling on products they previously considered healthy, indicating that the stamps allowed them to understand that their perception of the product was incorrect (Table 3 in the annex).
  • The use of stamps is a measure with wide levels of approval by Uruguayans, and many have already used them when buying products. 58% of the participants claimed to have modified their purchase decision by viewing the labeling on a product they were going to buy.
  • Uruguayans value the use of stamps and their use to improve their decisions to buy healthier foods.  It is interesting to note that, after just 10 days of full application of the front labeling, a high degree of knowledge and approval of the measure was observed, a level comparable with results observed in Chile one year after the implementation of its own warning label system, and much higher than the levels reported in Australia and New Zealand two years after the implementation of their system called Health Star Rating.

The full report (in Spanish here) confirms the importance of the implementation of front of package nutritional warning labels (black stamps) and that the delay in their implementation in Uruguay is a barrier for consumers to make the best decisions regarding their health.