Think of the color red vs. the color green and decide for yourself which is the “good” color and “bad” color. Growing up, every child is taught that red is indicative of something negative – a stop sign, a caution sign, a hot burner, blood – while green is good; the color of plant life, green means “go,” green is environmentally friendly. So it would make sense to make something unhealthy green, right?
According to a study published in the journal Health Communication, green labels alter the way people perceive nutritional information, leading people to believe that these foods are healthier than they really are. This wouldn’t be a problem if the food were half-way decent, but what if these labels are placed on foods that people know are bad for you, like candy bars?
The Mars Company recently adopted a voluntary program called “Treat Right,” which places small nutrition labels on the packaging. The problem: They’re all green, willfully deceiving people that might normally know that candy is bad for them, like children.
It’s great that a company like Mars would take an initiative in voluntarily placing a nutrition label on their food, telling people up front exactly what kind of calorie impact their sweets will have on your body. It’s unfortunate that, like many industries, even the most good-intentioned move seems to have a profit motive behind it.