Start Date: February 2024

Organization: George Washington University

Project Lead: Allison Sylvetsky, PhD

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The project aims to use an online randomized experiment to 1) evaluate the impact of front-of-package (FOP) non-sugar sweetener (NSS) disclosures on a) parents’ selection of unsweetened products and b) parents’ selection of products with NSS and use focus group discussions to 2) examine parents’ understanding and perceptions of NSS and FOP NSS disclosures, 3) examine how FOP NSS disclosures influence parents’ perceptions of products’ healthfulness and the food and beverage selections they make for their children, and 4) investigate parents’ views on optimal label format and messaging. The project will also include a survey to understand perceptions and knowledge about NSS on a national scale. The online experiment will randomize participants to one of three study arms representing different FOP disclosure policies and participants will be asked to complete an online survey involving three sets of three products. The first analyses of the online experiment will compare the odds of selecting the unsweetened option in each product category and compare the odds of selecting the NSS-sweetened product, across treatment arms. Second analyses will explore whether there are differential responses by sociodemographic characteristics. Nine focus group discussions, each with 6-8 participants, will be conducted using a semi-structured guide and thematic analysis will be used to identify emergent themes and subthemes.

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