The FSA is to plough £150,000 into research examining how supermarket shoppers behave.
The results will form part of its input into a European Commission review of food labelling legislation.
The behavioural survey will be carried out at point of purchase and will help determine whether changes to the regulations proposed by Brussels are "sound".
"The FSA board is keen to find out what consumers do as opposed to what they say they do, which could be at variance," said a spokeswoman. "The board is also keen to find out what individual consumers need and want on labelling."
The research would not focus on nutritional labelling, she added.
Brussels is looking at a number of issues relating to labelling, including clarity and format. Among items under consideration are whether there should be a minimum font size for text on packaging, and whether ingredient lists on alcoholic drinks should become mandatory.