Industry use of 'better-for-you' features on labels of sugar-containing beverages

Aimee Brownbill, Caroline Miller, Annette J. Braunack-Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To examine the ways in which sugar-containing beverages are being portrayed as 'better-for-you' (BFY) via features on product labels.Design Cross-sectional audit of beverage labels.Setting Adelaide, Australia. Data on beverage labels were collected from seventeen grocery stores during September to November 2016.Subjects The content of 945 sugar-containing beverages labels were analysed for explicit and implicit features positioning them as healthy or BFY.Results The mean sugar content of beverages was high at 8·3 g/100 ml and most sugar-containing beverages (87·7 %) displayed features that position them as BFY. This was most commonly achieved by indicating the beverages are natural (76·8 %), or contain reduced or natural energy/sugar content (48·4 %), or through suggesting that they contribute to meeting bodily needs for nutrition (28·9 %) or health (15·1 %). Features positioning beverages as BFY were more common among certain categories of beverages, namely coconut waters, iced teas, sports drinks and juices.Conclusions A large proportion of sugar-containing beverages use features on labels that position them as healthy or BFY despite containing high amounts of sugar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3335-3343
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2018


  • Advertising
  • Food labels
  • Health halo
  • Marketing
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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