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Price promotions by food category and product healthiness in an Australian supermarket chain, 2017-2018

17 / 10 / 19

Finding:  Less healthy foods are price discounted more than core foods in this Australian supermarket.

Summary: This study examined how price promotions differed between core and discretionary food categories in an Australian supermarket chain. Weekly online price data was collected on 1579 foods for one year (April 2017-April 2018) from the largest supermarket chain. Products were classified according to Australian Dietary Guidelines definitions of core and discretionary foods and according to their Health Star Rating (HSR).  Discretionary food categories were high-sugar cereals (17 products), chocolate bars (246), chips (211), ice cream (351) and confectionery (163). On average more discretionary foods (28.8%) than core foods (15.1%) were price-promoted during a given week. The discount was also greater for discretionary foods (-25.9%) than core foods (-15.4%). The proportion of products on price promotion and the size of the discount is greater for products with a lower HSR.

The authors conclude policies to reduce price promotions on discretionary could improve healthiness of foods purchased from supermarkets.

Citation: Riesenberg D, Backholer K, Zorbas C, Sacks G et al. Price Promotions by Food Category and Product Healthiness in an Australian Supermarket Chain, 2017-2018.  Am J Public Health, August 15, 2019 (open access) doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305229