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Psychol Sci. 2018 Aug;29(8):1321-1333. doi: 10.1177/0956797618766361. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

The Effect of Graphic Warnings on Sugary-Drink Purchasing.

Author information

1
1 Marketing Unit, Harvard Business School.
2
2 Department of Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
3
3 Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
4
4 Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit, Harvard Business School.

Abstract

Governments have proposed text warning labels to decrease consumption of sugary drinks-a contributor to chronic diseases such as diabetes. However, they may be less effective than more evocative, graphic warning labels. We field-tested the effectiveness of graphic warning labels (vs. text warning labels, calorie labels, and no labels), provided insight into psychological mechanisms driving effectiveness, and assessed consumer sentiment. Study 1 indicated that graphic warning labels reduced the share of sugary drinks purchased in a cafeteria from 21.4% at baseline to 18.2%-an effect driven by substitution of water for sugary drinks. Study 2 showed that graphic warning labels heighten negative affect and prompt consideration of health consequences. Study 3 indicated that public support for graphic warning labels can be increased by conveying effectiveness information. These findings could spur more effective labeling policies that facilitate healthier choices, do not decrease overall beverage purchases, and are publicly accepted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02744859 NCT02947802.

KEYWORDS:

decision making; food; health; open data; open materials; policy making; preferences; preregistered

PMID:
29912624
PMCID:
PMC6088502
DOI:
10.1177/0956797618766361
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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