Published: January 2022

ID #: 76336

Journal: Appetite

Authors: Musicus AA, Hua SV, Moran AJ, Duffy EW, Hall MG, Roberto CA, Dillman Carpentier FR, Sorscher S, Wootan MG, Taillie LS, Rimm EB

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Young children regularly consume sugary fruit drinks, in part because parents may falsely believe they are healthful due to front-of-package (FOP) claims and imagery. The goal of this study was to assess: 1) the prevalence of FOP claims/imagery on fruit-flavored beverages purchased by U.S. households with 0-5-year-olds, and 2) proportional differences in beverages purchased with FOP claims/imagery across household demographic groups. A content analysis of FOP claims/imagery (e.g., nutrient claims, fruit imagery) on beverages (n = 1365) purchased by households with 0-5-year-olds was conducted by linking beverage sales with FOP marketing data. Results were merged with purchasing data from a nationally representative sample of households (FoodAPS), and survey-weighted logistic regression was used to assess differences in the proportions of 100% juices and fruit drinks with specific FOP claims/imagery purchased by household race/ethnicity, income, and SNAP/WIC participation. The most common claims on fruit-flavored beverages included nutrient claims, which most commonly highlighted vitamin C and the absence of sugar. Most beverages also contained implied-natural claims and natural imagery. A large proportion of fruit drinks and 100% juices purchased by households across all demographic groups contained FOP claims and imagery, with a few minor differences between racial/ethnic groups. In conclusion, most fruit drinks, 100% juices, and flavored waters purchased by households with 0-5-year-olds contained FOP claims and imagery that may lead consumers to believe the beverages are healthy and natural. FDA regulations should ensure parents are not misled by this marketing.

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