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Effect of front-of-pack labels on drink selection

14 / 03 / 19

Finding:

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.

Summary:

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.

Citation:

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:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29879450