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A systems framework for implementing healthy food retail in grocery settings

journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-18, 04:02 authored by Christina ZorbasChristina Zorbas, Miranda R Blake, Andrew D Brown, Anna Peeters, Steve Allender, Julie Brimblecombe, Adrian J Cameron, Jill Whelan, Megan Ferguson, Laura Alston, Tara Boelsen-Robinson
Abstract Background Food retailers can be reluctant to initiate healthy food retail activities in the face of a complex set of interrelated drivers that impact the retail environment. The Systems Thinking Approach for Retail Transformation (START) is a determinants framework created using qualitative systems modelling to guide healthy food retail interventions in community-based, health-promoting settings. We aimed to test the applicability of the START map to a suite of distinct healthy food marketing and promotion activities that formed an intervention in a grocery setting in regional Victoria, Australia. Methods A secondary analysis was undertaken of 16 previously completed semi-structured interviews with independent grocery retailers and stakeholders. Interviews were deductively coded against the existing START framework, whilst allowing for new grocery-setting specific factors to be identified. New factors and relationships were used to build causal loop diagrams and extend the original START systems map using Vensim. Results A version of the START map including aspects relevant to the grocery setting was developed (“START-G”). In both health-promoting and grocery settings, it was important for retailers to ‘Get Started’ with healthy food retail interventions that were supported by a proof-of-concept and ‘Focus on the customer’ response (with grocery-settings focused on monitoring sales data). New factors and relationships described perceived difficulties associated with disrupting a grocery-setting ‘Supply-side status quo’ that promotes less healthy food and beverage options. Yet, most grocery retailers discussed relationships that highlighted the potential for ‘Healthy food as innovation’ and ‘Supporting cultural change through corporate social responsibility and leadership’. Conclusions Several differences were found when implementing healthy food retail in grocery compared to health promotion settings. The START-G map offers preliminary guidance for identifying and addressing commercial interests in grocery settings that currently promote less healthy foods and beverages, including by starting to address business outcomes and supplier relationships.

History

Journal

BMC Public Health

Volume

24

Article number

137

Pagination

137-

Location

England

ISSN

1471-2458

eISSN

1471-2458

Language

en

Issue

1

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC