Impact of lower strength alcohol labelling on consumption: A randomised controlled trial

Journal article


Vasiljevic, M, Couturier, D-L, Frings, D, Moss, AC, Albery, IP and Marteau, TM (2018). Impact of lower strength alcohol labelling on consumption: A randomised controlled trial. Health Psychology.
AuthorsVasiljevic, M, Couturier, D-L, Frings, D, Moss, AC, Albery, IP and Marteau, TM
Abstract

Objective: Labels indicating low/light versions of tobacco and foods are perceived as less harmful which may encourage people to consume more. There is an absence of evidence concerning the impact on consumption of labelling alcohol products as lower in strength. The current study tests the hypothesis that labelling wine and beer as lower in alcohol increases their consumption. Methods: Weekly wine and beer drinkers (n=264) sampled from a representative panel of the general population of England were randomised to one of three groups to taste test drinks in a bar-laboratory varying only in the label displayed; Group 1: verbal descriptor Super Low combined with 4%ABV for wine/1%ABV for beer; Group 2: verbal descriptor Low combined with 8%ABV for wine/3%ABV for beer; Group 3: No verbal descriptors of strength (Regular). Primary outcome was total volume (ml) of drink consumed. Results: The results supported the study hypothesis: the total amount of drink consumed increased as the label on the drink denoted successively lower alcohol strength, BLin=.71, p=.015, [95%CI=0.13/1.30]. Group contrasts showed significant differences between those offered drinks labelled as Super Low (M=213.77) compared to Regular (M=176.85), B=1.43, p=.019, [95%CI=0.24/2.61]. There was no significant difference in amount consumed between those offered drinks labelled as Low compared to Regular. Conclusions: These results suggest that labelling drinks as lower in strength increases the amount consumed. Further studies are warranted to test for replication in non-laboratory settings and to estimate whether any effects are at a level with the potential to harm health. Trial registration: ISRCTN15530806

Keywordslower strength alcohol labelling; consumption; Bar lab; randomised control trial; 11 Medical And Health Sciences; 13 Education; 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences; Public Health
Year2018
JournalHealth Psychology
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN1930-7810
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000622
Publication dates
Print26 Apr 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Feb 2018
Accepted06 Feb 2018
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
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