Promoting Healthy Drink Choices at School by Means of Assortment Changes and Traffic Light Coding: A Field Study

Angelos Stamos*, Florian Lange, Siegfried Dewitte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Although there is widespread agreement about the need to reduce teenagers’ consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, banning these drinks from the school environment is not always feasible. In this paper, we tested whether increasing the assortment of healthier alternatives and clearly labelling them as healthy by means of traffic light coding qualifies as an alternative approach to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages at school. In a field study, we tripled the assortment of healthy (‘green’) and relatively healthy (‘amber’) drinks and kept the assortment of sugar-sweetened (‘red’) drinks constant during five intervention weeks in two treatment Belgian schools. Compared to baseline and to an untreated control school, we found that the relative market share of red beverages dropped by more than 30 percentage points. In one school, this market share was taken by both green and amber drinks, while in the other school, only the consumption of amber drinks increased. We suggest that this easily applicable intervention circumvents some of the friction that accompanies banning sugar-sweetened drinks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Pages (from-to)415-421
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Assortment change
  • Traffic light labelling
  • Adolescents
  • Field study

Cite this