Health labels may deter people from buying sugary drinks, study finds
MELBOURNE, Australia: In an effort to deter people from smoking, cigarette packets are labelled with warnings and graphic images. In a new study, researchers from Australia’s Deakin University have investigated whether a similar labelling approach could dissuade people from buying sugary drinks. They found that young adults were less likely to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages that had health labels.
According to the results, participants were far less likely to select a sugary drink when a front-of-pack label was displayed compared with no label, regardless of their level of education, age or socio-economic background. “Our findings highlight the potential of front-of-pack health labels, particularly graphic images and Health Star Ratings, to change consumer behaviour, reduce purchases of sugar-sweetened drinks, and help people to make healthier choices,” said Peeters.
According to Peeters, the question now is what kind of impact labels will have, on what she calls, the obesity epidemic. “While no single measure will reverse the obesity crisis, given that the largest source of added sugars in our diet comes from sugar-sweetened drinks, there is a compelling case for the introduction of front-of-pack labels on sugary drinks worldwide.”
The new research was presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, held in Vienna in Austria from 23 to 26 May.