Online grocery shopping website food-label analysis by Charlotte Lincoln 2015.

Online grocery shopping website food-label analysis. by (me) Charlotte lincoln


The following essay will analyse past research into encouraging ethical and health oriented spending, in regards to food products purchased from grocery store outlets.

The research involved a mixed method study looking into how online platforms dealt with the transfer of labels (Fairtrade, Organic, Origin, gluten-free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan) and nutritional information from physical food packaging. It also identified which types of food items were given priority real estate on the homepages, with the aim of discovering how online grocery stores were affecting purchasing behaviour and whether the digital platform could be a viable option when addressing the desire for a uniform labelling system.

It was discovered that on average sites were insufficient at transferring the necessary labelling information from food packaging. In regards to companies, brand labels gave too much priority to ‘own brand’ and subsequently ‘no label’ unmarked produce. Specifically, sites did not adequately display what icons and labels meant, especially when it comes to icons created exclusively for their site.
Moreover, webpages are cluttered with consumer reviews, which are believed to add little to no benefit to the consumers shopping experience and potentially are taking up valuable mental resources. Finally, food such as ‘Alcohol’ and ‘Sweets’ appear on the homepage more than they should, in comparison to an idealised model developed according to the “Eatwell plate” diagram.

Due to shortcomings listed above, grocery sites currently do not fulfil the expressed desire for a simple uniform labelling system, due to the removal of known brand logos. In spite of this result the research has underlined how the following alternations (removal of the consumer reviews, adoption of logo based informational pages & ensuring known brand logos carry over) could encourage more ethical spending.

Statement of ownership:

“I declare that no part of this dissertation has been taken from existing published or unpublished material without due acknowledgement and that all secondary material used herein has been fully referenced.”