Priyanka Jayawardena Offers Insights into Sri Lanka’s Traffic Light Labels at the Delivering for Nutrition (D4N) in South Asia Conference

1-2 November 2023

IPS Research Economist, Priyanka Jayawardena delivered a virtual presentation on “Sri Lanka’s Traffic Light Labels: Steering Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Choices” during Thematic Session 2a: Rethinking Food Environments at the Delivering for Nutrition (D4N) in South Asia: Equity and Inclusion conference, held in a hybrid format in  Kathmandu, Nepal and virtually from 1-2 November 2023. The conference was organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with CGIAR and co-hosted by various regional and global partners, including the IPS.

Drawing insights from the IPS study on ‘Strengthening Fiscal Policies and Regulations to Promote Healthy Diets in Sri Lanka’, Jayawardena delved into evidence-based insights on how Traffic Light Labelling (TLL) influences the consumption behaviour of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). The study engaged 2,500 respondents, covering 14 districts and all nine provinces of Sri Lanka, encompassing both rural and urban consumers in supermarkets and Sathosa outlets. Employing the Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) method, the study investigated the effectiveness of TLL on SSB choices.

Based on study findings, Ms Jayawardena highlighted that only 66% of the sample were aware of the TLL system, with lower awareness among socio-economically disadvantaged groups. She noted that empirical evidence showed the effectiveness of the TLL system in Sri Lanka, with people integrating TLL knowledge into their SSB choices. She further pointed out that the effectiveness of the TLL system significantly differs by socio-economic group. Notably, low-income groups even with TLL knowledge showed less concern on TLL in their SSB choices. She also highlighted that SSB choices are significantly negatively affected by price.

Ms Jayawardena’s presentation was based on findings from the IPS study funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. The consumer survey was conducted by the partner institute, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Sri Lanka.

Download the presentation here.