New report: Purchases of price promotions on less healthy food and drink in the North West

New report: Purchases of price promotions on less healthy food and drink in the North West

Our latest Food Active survey suggests purchases of food and drink on price promotion in the North West is dominated by crisps and chocolate, as the Government consults on restricting to promotions on less healthy food and drink by price and place.

Following the publication of the Childhood Obesity Plan: Chapter 2 in June 2018, Food Active developed a regional North West survey to specifically investigate peoples purchases of food and drink promotion and gauge opinion and support around the three proposals outlined in the consultation – restrictions to promotions on less healthy food and drink by price, place and unlimited refills of sugar sweetened beverages. We wanted to collect this data to give a North West perspective and also to help inform our official response to the consultation, and share widely across the region and nationally to encourage others to respond.

In total, we surveyed 379 people from across the North West and collected data from August to November 2018. In the survey we wanted to find out on their last visit to a supermarket or food retailer, whether they purchased any food or drink on promotion; what type of food or drink it was; what type of promotional technique was applied, reasons for purchasing said promotion and finally their level of support for the proposals outlined in the consultation.

Findings from the survey indicates less healthy food and drink categories dominate the types of food and drink purchased on promotion in the North West – specifically crisps, chocolate and sweets and sugary drinks. Purchases of these types of products were also influenced more by the promotional activity when compared to healthier, core-foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish products, meat products and rice and grains. The sample from the North West also indicated moderate to strong support for the proposals outlined in the Childhood Obesity Plan Chapter 2.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 71%, (n=267) purchased a food or drink item subject to promotion on their last visit to a supermarket.
  • Participants reported a total of 377 purchases, of which the most commonly reported food and drink categories were crisps (17.1%, n=63), chocolate and sweets confectionery (15.7%, n=58) and yogurt (11.1%, n=41) and sugar-sweetened beverages (n=34, 9.2%).
  • When comparing the frequency of less healthy food and drink categories to healthier categories, there were 2.8x more promotions purchased on crisps than compared to fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables. 8.5x more promotions were purchased on sugar-sweetened soft drinks compared to bottled water.
  • Discounted/half price promotions dominated promotional activity across food and drink categories, but volume-based promotions applied to 39% (n=16) of promotions on yogurts, 28% (n=18) on crisps and 25% (n=15) on chocolate and sweet confectionery.
  • Participants reported that the majority of the promotions purchased were decided on the basis of the promotion available in store, as an impulse buy (57.5%, n=216). This rose to 83.3% (n=5) of all purchases on puddings and desserts, 77.5% (n=45) of all purchases on chocolate and sweet confectionery and 68.7% (n=44) of all purchases of crisps were influenced by the price promotion.
  • 50.3% (n=191) of respondents supported a ban on price promotions on less healthy food and drink, of which 29.5% (n=112) stated they strongly agreed with the proposals.
  • Almost half of all participants (n=188, 49.6%) stated they strongly agreed with restricting promotions on less healthy food and drink at prominent locations in store (i.e. checkout), with the number of participants stating they either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ reaching 75.1% (n=285).
  • Over two thirds (64.3%, n=244) stated they either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with restricting unlimited refills of sugar-sweetened beverages.

The full research report can be found via the button below.

The Department for Health and Social Care’s consultation to restrict promotions on less healthy food and drink by price and place is currently open for a 12-week consultation period and the deadline for response is Saturday 6th April. You can respond to the consultation here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/restricting-promotions-of-food-and-drink-that-is-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt

We welcome the use of our data to respond to the consultation, on the basis of referencing and accreditation of the report. If you have any questions about the report, please contact beth.bradshaw@foodactive.org.uk

Full Report: Purchases of price promotions on less healthy food and drink in the North West

 


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