Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Sugar sweetened beverage consumers’ attitudes to educational and beverage pricing interventions  (#205)

Miranda Blake 1 2 , Kathryn Backholer 1 2 , Anna Peeters 1 2 , Emily Lancsar 3
  1. Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Obesity and Population Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. Centre for Health Economics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Despite real-world evidence and price modeling data suggesting that sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption could be reduced through targeted price increases, governments and industry remain resistant to implementing such policies. This study aimed to (i) explore the relative importance of beverage choice attributes of SSB consumers; (ii) to define the context in which consumers make beverage purchasing decisions; and (iii) provide possible explanations for consumer responses to an increase in SSB price and educational messages. Results will inform the design of a discrete choice experiment (DCE) in which participants will choose between beverage alternatives with variable prices and volumes and under different conditions including after seeing an educational message. Four focus groups of 5-7 adult regular SSB consumers (n=24) were facilitated by two researchers. Discussions included elicitation and individual ranking of importance of beverage attributes on purchasing decisions; support for retail and government led SSB price increases; ranking of predicted effectiveness of point-of-sale educational messages; and trailing of DCE presentation format (results presented elsewhere). Discussions were audio recorded and will be transcribed verbatim.  One researcher will analyze transcripts to develop codes, categories and themes. These will be cross checked for agreement for one focus group with a senior researcher. A hierarchical analysis will be used to give greater weight to attributes or topics raised organically by participants. Descriptive statistics will be used to report demographic characteristics and ranking and voting task results. Preliminary themes that emerged from focus groups were: Taste, health and price (especially among low income earners) are most important; government intervention is needed; education is the preferred response; and mistrust of retailer motives in increasing SSB prices. This study provides insight into SSB consumers’ decision making in beverage purchases which will facilitate development of evidence-based interventions to reduce SSB consumption including pricing interventions and effective educational messages.