Sugary Drink purchases plunge following Chile’s new Food Law

A study by our GFRP team & our Chilean collaborators, published 11 Feb 2020 in PLOS Medicine, finds that Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, implemented in 2016, was followed by a significant 23.7% decline in purchases of sugary drinks. This research, following changes in purchases of over 2000 households in Chile, is the first publication of our work to show the effects of the regulations in Chile to jointly mandate front-of-package warning labels, restrict child-directed marketing, and ban sales in schools of all foods and beverages containing added sugars, sodium, or saturated fats that exceed set nutrient or calorie thresholds. Various media outlets have focused on this study, including in The Guardian and the New York Times:

Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks dropped nearly 25 percent in the 18 months after Chile adopted a raft of regulations that included advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods, bold front-of-package warning labels and a ban on junk food in schools. During the same period, researchers recorded a five percent increase in purchases of bottled water, diet soft drinks and fruit juices without added sugar.

“An effect this big at the national level in the first year is unheard-of,” said Lindsey Smith Taillie, a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the study’s lead author. “It is a very promising sign for a set of policies that mutually reinforce one another. This is the way we need the world to go to begin to really combat preventable diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes.”

Read more about the regulations and our work in Chile and find the full research publication in PLOS Med.