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Food and beverage price promotions: an untapped policy target for improving population diets and health
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kathryn BackholerKathryn Backholer, Gary SacksGary Sacks, Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron
Purpose of Review: The price of foods and beverages is a critical driver of food choice, particularly among families and households with limited food budgets. Policies targeting unhealthy food and beverage price promotions represent an untapped policy target for improving population diets and health. Here we review policy options for reducing the frequency and influence of price promotions on unhealthy foods and beverages (high in one or more of salt, sugar and saturated fat), and demonstrate their potential to complement other food policies and improve population diets. Recent Findings: Price promotions on unhealthy foods and beverages are ubiquitous in many settings globally and appear to be more common than price promotions for healthy food. Shoppers appear to be more responsive to price promotions on unhealthy foods and beverages compared to price promotions for healthier items, with evidence that discounts lead to impulse purchases, stockpiling and overconsumption. A range of policy options exist to reduce the influence of price promotions on unhealthy foods and beverages, but none have been tested in the real world, meaning the industry and consumer responses to such policies are unclear. Summary: Policies that reduce the prevalence and influence of unhealthy food and beverage price promotions should be considered as part of a comprehensive approach to improving population diets.