New research from the University of Southampton shows that removing confectionery and other unhealthy products from checkouts and the end of nearby aisles and placing fruit and vegetables near store entrances prompts customers to make healthier food purchases. The study, led by Dr. Christina Vogel, Principal Research Fellow in Public Health Nutrition and Janis Baird, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University’s MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, was conducted in partnership with the national supermarket chain Iceland Foods Ltd. The trial took place in a selection of Iceland stores in England and monitored store sales as well as the purchasing and dietary patterns of a sample of regular customers. The results showed store-wide confectionery sales decreased and fruit and vegetable sales increased when non-food items and water were placed at checkouts and at the end of the opposite aisles, and an expanded fruit and vegetable section was repositioned near the store entrance. Beneficial effects were also observed for household fruit and vegetable purchasing and individual dietary quality. Full details are presented in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine from 24th August 2021.
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