Research Papers

Abstract

Food allergen declarations on packaged products lack coherent regulation, standardisation and therefore manifest in a variety of terminology. This unfortunately leads to a magnitude of preventable allergy-related outbreaks and emergencies, as consumers rely on allergen declaration for selfmanagement. Together with dieticians, we therefore developed a purchase-related barcode scanning mHealth application that utilises a standardised taxonomy of food allergens for the display of userfriendly digital food allergen labels. The application design allowed for an in-the-wild randomised controlled trial, randomly attributing users to two treatment groups that either received icon-based or text-based digital food allergen labels. 74 users met the eligibility criteria for our study. The findings suggest that users in both groups use the application similarly frequently, but users perceive iconbased allergen labels more recommendable and more useful than text-based labels. Especially, users with low fluency in the local language (German), and frequent travellers, both segments prone to food allergy related emergencies, prefer the icon-based label, indicating that standardised, icon-based digital food allergen declarations can complement current text-based declarations. Especially users who are travelling internationally or are non-fluent in their local language can benefit from languageagnostic icon-based digital food allergen labels

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