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The objective of the present study was to test the effectiveness of financial incentives and traffic-light labels to reduce purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages in a community supermarket.
In this randomized controlled trial, after a 2-month baseline period (February–March 2014), in-store traffic-light labels were posted to indicate healthy (green), less healthy (yellow) or unhealthy (red) beverages. During the subsequent five months (April–August 2014), participants in the intervention arm were eligible to earn a $US 25 in-store gift card each month they refrained from purchasing red-labelled beverages.
Urban supermarket in Chelsea, MA, USA, a low-income Latino community.
Participants were customers of this supermarket who had at least one child living at home. A total of 148 customers (n 77 in the intervention group and n 71 in the control group) were included in the final analyses.
Outcomes were monthly in-store purchases tracked using a store loyalty card and self-reported consumption of red-labelled beverages. Compared with control participants, the proportion of intervention participants who purchased any red-labelled beverages decreased by 9 % more per month (P=0·002). More intervention than control participants reduced their consumption of red-labelled beverages (−23 % v. −2 % for consuming ≥1 red beverage/week, P=0·01).
Overall, financial incentives paired with in-store traffic-light labels modestly reduced purchase and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by customers of a community supermarket.
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