A new partnership between the city of Boston and most of the city’s large supermarkets aims to help consumers choose healthier and less sugary beverages with a color-coded “Rethink Your Drink” campaign in stores and weekly circulars. Harvard School of Public Health’s Prevention Research Center (HPRC), directed by Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology at HSPH, and the Boston Public Health Commission will evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign in influencing consumer beverage choices over the next six months.
The city’s partnership with Shaw’s, Star Market, Stop & Shop, and Dudley Square’s Tropical Foods will bring signage, displays, advertising, and other educational tools to 15 supermarkets across Boston, reaching tens of thousands of shoppers. The campaign will include a traffic light symbol that categorizes drinks as red, yellow, or green. “Green” beverages—water, seltzer, and low-fat milks—are considered the healthiest options. “Yellow” beverages—diet sodas, iced teas, 100% juices, and low-calorie sports drinks—should be consumed only occasionally. And “red” beverages—non-diet sodas, energy drinks, and juices with added sugar—should be consumed rarely, if at all.
“In Boston, we’re always striving to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Mayor Menino said in a November 8, 2013 press release.