Objectives: In this study, we examined visual attention of a warning label on a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and its effects on visual attention to SSB product descriptors and perceptions of SSB using eye tracking technology. Methods: We had 180 young adults view an image of a generic soda can with or without a text warning on a computer monitor. Results: Participants spent less time looking at marketing elements on the can in the "Warning" condition compared to the "No warning" (control) condition. Compared to the control, participants in the "Warning" condition viewed the sugar-sweetened beverage as less healthy (1.78 warning vs 2.21 control, p < .01) and believed that drinking SSBs contributed to diabetes (5.70 warning vs 5.27 control, p < .01). Visual attention to warning label was associated with correct recall of the warning and opting out of purchasing the can. Conclusions: Textual warning on SSB reduced visual attention to marketing elements on the can. Although there were few statistically significant differences between the conditions on most measures of product appeal or risk perception, warnings increased some perceived risks of SSBs indicating that warning labels on SSBs might be a promising strategy in informing consumers, particularly young adults, about risks of added sugars.
Warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages
An eye-tracking approach