This article examines whether news coverage about trans fats influenced consumer purchasing behavior regarding foods containing trans fats. Starting in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration has required food products to display trans fat levels.
The authors conducted a cross-sectional time-series analysis to merge data on media coverage of the trans fat labeling requirement with sales information from a large grocery chain. Sales of seven products containing trans fats were tracked across almost 12,000 store-weeks.
Although news coverage of the trans fat labeling requirement influenced consumer behavior at the time of release, media coverage on its own is not sufficient to change consumer purchasing patterns in the long term.