University of Hertfordshire

Does the availability of snack foods in supermarkets vary internationally?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Documents

  • Lukar E Thornton
  • Adrian J Cameron
  • Sarah A McNaughton
  • Wilma W Waterlander
  • Marita Sodergren
  • Chalida Svastisalee
  • Laurence Blanchard
  • Angela D Liese
  • Sarah Battersby
  • Mary-Ann Carter
  • Judy Sheeshka
  • Sharon I Kirkpatrick
  • Sandy Sherman
  • Gill Cowburn
  • Charlie Foster
  • David A Crowford
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Volume10`
Issue56
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2013

Abstract

Background
Cross-country differences in dietary behaviours and obesity rates have been previously reported. Consumption of energy-dense snack foods and soft drinks are implicated as contributing to weight gain, however little is known about how the availability of these items within supermarkets varies internationally. This study assessed variations in the display of snack foods and soft drinks within a sample of supermarkets across eight countries.

Methods
Within-store audits were used to evaluate and compare the availability of potato chips (crisps), chocolate, confectionery and soft drinks. Displays measured included shelf length and the proportion of checkouts and end-of-aisle displays containing these products. Audits were conducted in a convenience sample of 170 supermarkets across eight developed nations (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (US)).

Results
The mean total aisle length of snack foods (adjusted for store size) was greatest in supermarkets from the UK (56.4 m) and lowest in New Zealand (21.7 m). When assessed by individual item, the greatest aisle length devoted to chips, chocolate and confectionery was found in UK supermarkets while the greatest aisle length dedicated to soft drinks was in Australian supermarkets. Only stores from the Netherlands (41%) had less than 70% of checkouts featuring displays of snack foods or soft drinks.

Conclusion
Whilst between-country variations were observed, overall results indicate high levels of snack food and soft drinks displays within supermarkets across the eight countries. Exposure to snack foods is largely unavoidable within supermarkets, increasing the likelihood of purchases and particularly those made impulsively.

Notes

© 2013 Thornton et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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