A qualitative analysis of sugary drink consumers’ perceptions of using smaller compared with larger bottles when given a fixed amount of cola

Sub-dividing a fixed amount of a sugar-sweetened beverage into smaller vs. larger bottles could help curb their consumption but, so far, no studies have tested this possibility. To explore the possible effects of small bottles, we conducted a qualitative study, published in the journal Appetite.

We interviewed 16 sugary drink consumers taking part in a feasibility study on the impact of presenting a fixed amount of cola in different bottle sizes on in-home consumption of cola, about their experiences of using four different bottle sizes of cola: 1500 ml, 1000 ml, 500 ml, and 250 ml.

We found that participants perceived their consumption pace and amount to be greater with the smallest (250ml) compared to larger bottles. The smallest bottles were described as increasing the frequency of drinking occasions and encouraging consumption of numerous bottles in succession. Various factors associated with the smallest bottles were described as enabling consumption. These included their perceived convenience and portability, the greater number of smaller vs. larger bottles available and the smallest bottles perceived as being too small. Further work is needed to experimentally test the use of small bottles as a method for decreasing sugary drink consumption.

Perceived impact of smaller compared with larger-sized bottles of sugar-sweetened beverages on consumption: a qualitative analysis. Mantzari , Hollands, Pechey, Jebb & Marteau, 2017

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