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Supermarket promotions boost sales of less healthy foods more than healthier foods

Posted on 12 February 2015

New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

New research published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has looked at whether supermarket price promotions encourage less healthy purchases. Price promotions are commonly used in stores to boost purchasing, but there has been growing concern that these promotional activities may contribute to poor diets, particularly amongst those who are more deprived. The paper showed price promotions were in fact equally likely on healthier and less healthy foods, but that people were more likely to purchase promoted foods when these foods were less healthy. Results also indicate that less deprived households were more likely to buy foods on promotion than more deprived households, for both healthier and less healthy foods. This suggests that while limiting promotions on less healthy foods could improve diets, such a policy would be unlikely to reduce health inequalities. The research was conducted as part of the Department of Health funded Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU), a collaboration between the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia and York, among others. The full article can viewed here.