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Only half of Americans understand food labels and under a third of Americans believe what the labels say. According to a survey from Coast Packing Company and Ipsos Research, there are sharp gender divides in how consumers respond to food labels. Forty percent of women thought that seeing a label with fewer ingredients would have a positive effect on their purchasing decisions, while only 25 percent of men agreed.

Younger shoppers read labels more and believe they understand them: 68 percent of millennials read them, compared to 62 percent of the general population, and 54 percent say they understand the labels, compared to 50 percent overall.

The survey found that information on food labels is more likely to be a deterrent than an encouragement to consume foods. Forty-five percent of Americans avoid food based on the labels, while only 26 percent say they consume more of certain foods based on the labels.

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