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Effect of front-of-pack labels on drink selection

14 / 03 / 19


Front of pack (FOP) labels- especially those with graphic warnings – can reduce intended purchase of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) and labels that identify healthier alternatives may increase substitution of SSBs with healthier alternatives.


This Australian research from Deakin University (Victoria) aimed to determine whether FOP labels- and which type of label - reduces intended choice of a SSB in a group of young Australian adults. The study was an online choice experiment that compared a control group who were not exposed to a label with groups exposed to different labels: a graphic warning showing decayed teeth; text warning; sugar content information (showing teaspoons of sugar) and the Health Star Rating (HSR).

All warning labels significantly reduced selection of a SSB. The greatest magnitude effect was seen with the graphic warning labels. Only the HSR significantly increased selections of healthier (high HSR) drinks. As the study subjects were exposed to a hypothetical choice scenario, the authors acknowledge a limitation to the study’s findings are its replicability to a real world setting.


Bilich N, Blake MR, Backholer K. The effect of sugar-sweetened beverage front-of-pack labels on drink selection, health knowledge and awareness: an online randomised controlled trial. Appetite 2018 Sept 1; 128:233-241.

Link to abstract: