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Table 3 Interpretation of labels by the grade 12 adolescents for their selection of healthier snacks

From: Use of food labels by adolescents to make healthier choices on snacks: a cross-sectional study from Sri Lanka

Option selected based on each pair of hypothetical labelsa Reasons for selection
Pair 1 (Fig. 1a)
Healthier option - 85 % (n = 453) • Natural ingredients (32 %)
 (Natural fruit drink—local product with a picture of oranges, a true claim on ‘no added sugar’) • High nutritive value (23 %)
• Local product (ethical claim) (6 %)
• Fruits showing ‘healthiness’ (4 %)
Less healthy option - 15 % (n = 80) • Imported product (26 %)
 (Fizzy drink—imported product with an eye-catching picture, a false claim on ‘empty calories’) • Attractive label (16 %)
Pair 2 (Fig. 1b)
Healthier option - 70.5 % (n = 376) • Medical recommendation (73 %)
 (Ordinary label—same nutrients, low price, a claim on ‘Certified by the Medical Association’) • Reasonable price (15 %)
Less healthy option-29.5 % (n = 157) • Attractive label (63 %)
 (Attractive label—same nutrients, high price, no claims) • Costly, so better quality (2.5 %)
Pair 3 (Fig. 1c)
Healthier option - 64.5 % (n = 344) • Taste of chocolate (35 %)
 (High-energy product—high calories and all major nutrients included in the nutrition panel, no claims) • High calories (21 %)
• Nutritive value (16 %)
• Attractive label (11 %)
Less healthy option -35.5 % (n = 189) • Zero cholesterol (65 %)
 (Less energy product—false claim on ‘zero cholesterol’ despite saturated fatty acids in the nutrition panel) • Pizza like taste (15 %)
• Quick snack (7 %)
  1. a N = 533 (9 students who never read food labels were excluded)