Labeling food and beverages as less-healthy and taxing them motivates people to make healthier choices, finds a news study.
When faced with a 30 percent tax on less healthy items, consumers were 11 percent more likely to purchase healthy alternatives.
Labeling choices as "less healthy" influenced purchases by 7 percentage points.
Brian Elbel, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor of Population Health and Health Policy at NYU and lead author on the study, said that the 30 percent tax rate was chosen as an extreme tax scenario.
"People responded to price changes," he said.
"However, our method of labeling also had an impact on purchases and may make more of a difference if taxes on unhealthy items are small," he added.
The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.