Online Program

Point-of-purchase availability of healthy food products in a nationwide sample of food stores

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dianne C. Barker, MHS, Barker Bi-Coastal Health Consultants, Inc., Calabasas, CA
Lindsey Turner, PhD, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Leah Rimkus, MPH, RD, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Frank J. Chaloupka, PhD, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Introduction: Product placement is a key component of any food marketing strategy. The placement of sugar-sweetened beverages and other energy-dense foods at the point-of purchase may encourage impulse buying and potentially increase consumption of these foods. This presentation explores the availability of four products (candy, sweetened beverages, bottled water, and fresh fruits/vegetables) at cash registers in a sample of food outlets across the U.S. Methods: As part of a nationwide study of policy and environmental factors affecting childhood obesity, data collectors observed 3,117 food stores of varying types/sizes across 157 communities from April-July, 2011. A comparable number of communities and their respective food store samples were observed in 2010 (n=2,290 stores) and 2012 (n=3,064). Results: Preliminary results indicate widespread availability of candy (82-97%) at stores' point-of-purchase areas compared to fresh fruits/vegetables (11-13%) across all types of food stores. Communities with a majority Latino population had the highest percentage of stores (21%) offering fruits/vegetables at checkout. Sweetened beverages were significantly more likely to be placed at the cash register in supermarkets (95%), grocery stores (41%) and convenience stores (29%) compared to bottled water (91%, 28%, 17%, respectively); community income composition did not alter this relationship. Changes over time in point-of-purchase item configuration as well as point-of-purchase variations due to store characteristics (e.g., size of store, general availability of healthy products) also will be presented. Discussion: Healthy in-store marketing can encourage healthier food and beverage choices and, therein, help address the obesity epidemic. Best practice recommendations for food retailers will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the availability of healthy vs unhealthy products at the point-of- purchase in U.S. food stores. Identify best practice recommendations for healthy in-store marketing for food retailers.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Director of Community Data Collection for the Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project since 2008, and have been a public health policy researcher studying point of purchase issues (i.e., tobacco retail environments) for over twenty years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4171.0: Food Environment & Marketing