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Do the foods advertised in Australian supermarket catalogues reflect national dietary guidelines?
journal contributionposted on 2017-02-01, 00:00 authored by Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron, S J Sayers, Gary SacksGary Sacks, Lukar ThorntonLukar Thornton
Unhealthy diets are the major contributor to poor health in Australia and many countries globally. The majority of food spending in Australia occurs in supermarkets, which stock and sell both healthy and unhealthy foods. This study aimed to compare the foods advertised in the marketing catalogues (circulars) from four Australian supermarket chains with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. The content of national online weekly supermarket catalogues from four major Australian supermarket retailers was audited from June-September 2013 (12 weeks). Advertised products were categorized as (i) foods in the five core food groups (plus water); (ii) discretionary foods plus fats and oils; (iii) alcohol and (iv) other (food not fitting into any other category). Across all chains combined, 34.2% of foods advertised were from the five core food groups, 43.3% were discretionary foods, 8.5% were alcohol and the remaining 14.0% were 'other' foods. The percentage of advertised foods in the five core food groups varied between 29.3 and 38.3% across the four chains, whereas the percentage of discretionary foods varied between 34.8 and 49.0%. Australian supermarket catalogues heavily promote discretionary foods and contribute towards an environment that supports unhealthy eating behaviour. Strategies to increase the ratio of healthy-to-unhealthy foods need to be explored as part of efforts to improve population diets.