(HealthDay)—Pricing interventions seem to improve access to healthy food and beverage options with increases in stocking and sales of these items, according to a review published online Nov. 2 in Preventing Chronic Disease.
Joel Gittelsohn, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of studies on the effect of food-pricing interventions on retail sales and consumer purchasing and consumption of healthy foods and beverages. Sixty-five articles, published between 2000 and 2016 and representing 30 studies, were reviewed.
The researchers found that increases in the stocking and sales of promoted items were reported by 16 pricing intervention studies that aimed to improve access to healthy food and beverage options. Twenty-three studies reported improvement in the purchasing and consumption of healthy foods and beverages and reductions in the purchasing and consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages. Twenty studies examined promotions of fresh fruits and vegetables; these foods may be difficult to source, have high perishability, and raise concerns related to safety and handling. Only six of the pricing studies discouraged purchasing and consumption of unhealthy foods.
"Pricing interventions generally increased stocking, sales, purchasing, and consumption of promoted foods and beverages," the authors write. "Additional studies are needed to differentiate the potential impact of selected pricing strategies and policies over others."
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