End-of-aisle displays encourage consumption of alcohol and fizzy drinks

March 17, 2014
Credit: Keith Williams

Restricting displays – which increase sales of displayed drinks by up to 46% for alcohol and by 52% for carbonated drinks - could curb consumption without affecting price or availability.

New research has found that displays at the end of supermarket aisles significantly increase purchases of the displayed alcohol – by 46% for spirits, 34% for wine and 23% for beer. The study also reveals that similar displays of increase purchases by 52%.

Although it is likely that marketing research exists within the retail industry about the effects of end-of-aisle displays, until now there has been little scientific research on the extent of its influence on alcohol and carbonated drink purchases.

The study used data collected from a branch of a major supermarket chain in England. It was conducted by the Behaviour and Health Research Unit, a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, the University of East Anglia, and MRC Human Nutrition Research. The research is published today in the journal Social Sciences and Medicine.

The researchers used detailed information about store layout and product sales of three types of alcoholic drinks (beer, wine and spirits) and three non- (carbonated drinks, coffee and tea).

After controlling for price, price promotion and the number of display locations for each product, they found that displaying an item at the end of the aisle increased the sales of that item by 23.2% for beer, 33.6% for wine, and 46.1% for spirits. For non-alcoholic products, in the increase in sales was up 51.7% for carbonated drinks, 73.5% for coffee, and 113.8% for tea.

"Our study shows, for the first time, that these types of displays dramatically influence people's decisions to purchase alcohol and carbonated drinks," said lead author Dr Ryota Nakamura from the Behaviour and Health Research Unit and the University of East Anglia. "Prohibiting or limiting this marketing tactic for less healthy options, or utilising this for healthier ones, holds the promising possibility of encouraging healthier lifestyle choices."

Not surprisingly, a lower price was also associated with increased sales for all of the products, with the biggest impact on alcohol. For every 1% decrease in the price (per volume), there was approximately a 5% increase in sales volume – 5.6% for beer, 5.2% for wine and 5% for spirits. Lower had less of an impact on sales of non-alcoholic beverages: a 1% decrease in price was associated with a 2.3% increase for carbonated drinks, 2% for coffee, and 1.8% for tea.

Professor Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the study, said: "Although we often assume price is the biggest factor in purchase choices, end-of-aisle displays may play a far greater role. It would therefore make sense that any intervention to curb the consumption of and sugar-sweetened drinks takes this into consideration."

Explore further: Energy drinks linked to teen health risks

More information: Ryota Nakamura, Rachel Pechey, Marc Suhrcke, Susan A. Jebb, Theresa M. Marteau, "Sales impact of displaying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in end-of-aisle locations: An observational study," Social Science & Medicine, Volume 108, May 2014, Pages 68-73, ISSN 0277-9536, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.032.

Related Stories

Energy drinks linked to teen health risks

March 6, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The uplifting effects of energy drinks are well advertised, but a new report finds consumption among teenagers may be linked with poor mental health and substance use.

Experts urge Chancellor to 'crack down on cheap drink' in next week's budget

March 11, 2014
Experts are today urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to 'stand by the government's commitment to crack down on cheap drink' by retaining the alcohol duty escalator in next week's budget.

Young beer drinkers binge drink more frequently, study finds

August 12, 2013
Just under a third of young Swiss men prefer beer when they drink alcohol, taking in at least two thirds of their alcohol consumption in the form of the beverage. Far fewer (around five percent) prefer wine. Is there an association ...

Binge-drink Britain unveils minimum booze price plan

November 28, 2012
The British government was to announce plans on Wednesday for a minimum alcohol price of £0.45 ($0.72, 0.56 euros) in England and Wales in an attempt to restrain an infamous binge-drinking culture.

Enhanced minimum-pricing strategy on alcohol could result in less harm for consumers

October 19, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Consumers tend to switch to less potent alcoholic beverages when minimum prices are raised for cheap, strong drinks, new research from the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) ...

Drop in alcohol-related deaths by nearly a third follows minimum alcohol price increase of 10 percent

February 6, 2013
A new study made available online today in Addiction shows that, between 2002 and 2009, the percentage of deaths caused by alcohol in British Columbia, Canada dropped more than expected when minimum alcohol price was increased, ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.