Walmart and Other Food Retail Chains: Trends and Disparities in the Nutritional Profile of Packaged Food Purchases.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Proliferation of food retail chains has created an environment in which a few food retailers account for the majority of U.S. packaged food purchases (PFPs). Despite the major potential for these food retail chains (FRCs) to impact what U.S. consumers buy and eat, little is known about the nutritional profile of PFPs from these retailers, particularly PFPs from Walmart, the largest U.S. grocer. METHODS:A data set of household PFPs from Nielsen Homescan was linked to data from the Nutrition Facts Panel (N=164,315), analyzed in 2014. Fixed effects models and inverse probability weights accounting for selectivity of shopping at a retailer were used to examine shifts in nutrient densities and key food groups purchased at Walmart and other FRCs from 2000 to 2013, and whether these changes differed for low-income or racial/ethnic-minority households. RESULTS:There were substantial declines in energy (-73 kcal/100 g); total sugar (-8 g/100 g); and sodium density (-33 mg/100 g) of Walmart PFPs, coupled with decreases in percentage volume purchased from sweets (-11%); grain-based desserts (-2%); and savory snacks (-3%) and increases in fruits (+3%) and vegetables (+1%). PFPs from other FRCs had a more favorable nutritional profile than Walmart PFPs in 2000, but demonstrated smaller shifts over time. Disparities in the nutritional profile of Walmart PFPs by race/ethnicity but not by income level shrank over time. CONCLUSIONS:The nutritional profile of Walmart purchases has improved over time and in 2013 was similar to PFPs from other FRCs.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Policymakers have focused on the food retail environment for improving the dietary quality for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. Yet little is known about where SNAP households make food and beverage purchases or how purchases may vary by store type, SNAP participation, and income level. The objective of this study was to examine the association between SNAP-income status (participant, income-eligible non-participant, higher-income non-participant) and healthfulness of household purchases across store types. METHODS:Data included household packaged food purchases (N=76,458 unique households) from 2010 to 2014, analyzed in 2017 with multivariable adjusted models to examine the nutritional profile of purchases by store type (grocery, convenience, big box, and other stores) for SNAP participating households, income-eligible non-participants, and higher-income non-participants. Outcomes included volume and nutrients (kilocalories, total sugar, saturated fat, and sodium) and calories from food groups. RESULTS:All households purchased the greatest volume of foods and beverages from grocery stores, followed by big-box and other stores, with relatively little purchased from convenience stores. The largest differences between SNAP participants and non-participants were observed at grocery stores and big-box stores, where SNAP households purchased more calories from starchy vegetables, processed meat, desserts, sweeteners and toppings, total junk food, sugar-sweetened beverages, and milk, than income-eligible and higher-income SNAP non-participants. SNAP purchases also had considerably higher sodium density. Across store types, the nutritional profile of income-eligible non-participants' purchases was similar to higher-income households' purchases. CONCLUSIONS:More research is needed to identify strategies to improve the nutritional profile of purchases among SNAP households.
Project description:Healthier food initiatives conducted by national food retailers may offer opportunities to improve the nutritional profile of food purchases. Using a longitudinal data set of packaged food purchases made by US households, we examined the effect of a healthier food initiative officially launched by Walmart in 2011. From 2000 to 2013, household-level purchases of packaged foods at Walmart showed major declines in energy, sodium, and total sugar density, as well as in quantities of sugary beverages, grain-based desserts, snacks, and candy. These trends in packaged food purchases were more pronounced than similar concurrent trends seen at other major food retailers. However, the declines seen at Walmart after the initiative's official implementation did not exceed what would have been expected had pre-implementation trends continued, and therefore they cannot be attributed to the initiative. These results suggest that food retailer-based initiatives that purportedly create a healthier food environment may not suffice to improve the nutritional profile of food purchases. More systemic shifts in consumers' characteristics and preferences may be needed.
Project description:Where people shop for food is often linked to the healthiness of food purchases. In Mexico, no research has examined the connection between where people shop, what they buy, and their socioeconomic status (SES). Mexico's sugary beverage and junk food taxes have made households decrease purchases of taxed products. However, whether households have changed where they shop is unknown. To address this gap, we use a repeated cross-sectional analysis of household packaged food and beverage purchases from the Nielsen Mexico Consumer Panel Survey from 2012 to 2015 (n > 5500 households). We examine changes in the volume of the purchase of taxed and untaxed products from different store-types (i.e., convenience stores, supermarkets, traditional retailers, wholesalers, home water-delivery, and others) by SES using multivariate linear regression models. Results show that high-SES households purchased more foods and beverages at all store-types except for low-SES who purchased the most foods and taxed beverages at traditional retailers. Purchases of taxed foods and beverages from traditional retailers significantly decreased for low-SES and middle-SES households and from supermarkets for middle-SES and high-SES households. Purchases of untaxed beverages from wholesalers significantly increased for middle-SES households and from convenience stores for high-SES households. Our findings suggest that consumers choose different stores to purchase beverages than to purchase foods and that taxes may have differentially affected each store-type.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Little is known about where households shop for packaged foods, what foods and beverages they purchase, and the nutrient content of these purchases. This study describes volume trends and nutrient content (nutrient profiles, food and beverage groups) of household packaged foods purchases (PFPs) by store type. METHODS:Cross-sectional analysis of U.S. households' PFPs (Nielsen Homescan) from 2000 to 2012 (N=652,023 household-year observations) with survey weights used for national representativeness. Household PFP trends (% volume), household purchases of key food and beverage groups based on caloric contribution, and mean caloric and nutrient densities (sugars, saturated fat, and sodium) of household PFPs were analyzed by store type. Data were collected from 2000 to 2012. Analyses were conducted in 2014-2015. RESULTS:The proportion of total volume of household PFPs significantly increased from 2000 to 2012 for mass merchandisers (13.1% to 23.9%), convenience stores (3.6% to 5.9%), and warehouse clubs (6.2% to 9.8%), and significantly decreased for grocery chains (58.5% to 46.3%) and non-chain grocers (10.3% to 5.2%). Top common sources of calories (%) from household PFPs by food/beverage group included: savory snacks, grain-based desserts, and regular soft drinks. The energy, total sugar, sodium, and saturated fat densities of household PFPs from mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, and convenience stores were higher compared with grocery stores. CONCLUSIONS:PFPs from stores with poorer nutrient density (more energy, total sugar, sodium, and saturated fat-dense), such as warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers, and convenience stores are growing, representing a potential U.S. public health concern.
Project description:Food shopping decisions are pathways between food environment, diet and health outcomes, including chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. The choices of where to shop and what to buy are interrelated, though a better understanding of this dynamic is needed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's nationally representative Food Acquisitions and Purchase Survey food-at-home dataset was joined with other databases of retailer characteristics and Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI) of purchases. We used linear regression models with general estimating equations to assess relationships between trip, store, and shopper characteristics with trip HEI scores. We examined HEI component scores for conventional supermarkets and discount/limited assortment retailers with descriptive statistics. Overall, 4962 shoppers made 11,472 shopping trips over one-week periods, 2012-2013. Trips to conventional supermarkets were the most common (53.6%), followed by supercenters (18.6%). Compared to conventional supermarkets, purchases at natural/gourmet stores had significantly higher HEI scores (??=?6.48, 95% CI?=?[4.45, 8.51], while those from "other" retailers (including corner and convenience stores) were significantly lower (-3.89, [-5.87, -1.92]). Older participants (versus younger) and women (versus men) made significantly healthier purchases (1.19, [0.29, 2.10]). Shoppers with less than some college education made significantly less-healthy purchases, versus shoppers with more education, as did households participating in SNAP, versus those with incomes above 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. Individual, trip, and store characteristics influenced the healthfulness of foods purchased. Interventions to encourage healthy purchasing should reflect these dynamics in terms of how, where, and for whom they are implemented.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Unhealthy food vending can expose children to malnutrition and other diet related challenges such as obesity. This study sought to describe types and sources of food in basic schools in urban Accra, and to describe food purchases by pupils. METHODS:This was a cross-sectional study of five basic schools (3 public; 2 private) and 644 pupils in the Ga-East Municipality in Ghana. Check-lists were used to document available sources of foods during school hours. Pupils were intercepted after making purchases during breaktime and the type, cost and sources of foods purchased documented. Energy content of foods were read from labels when available or estimated using the Ghana Food Composition database when unlabelled. Frequencies and crosstabs were used to compare food type by source and school type. RESULTS:Foods were purchased from school canteen, school store, private stores, and 'table-top' vendors. Meals were most frequently purchased (38%) although single purchases were sweetened drinks, savoury snacks and confectioneries. About 53% of retailers located within the schools sold relatively healthier food options. Similar foods with comparable energy content were purchased within and outside of school. CONCLUSIONS:Basic schools in urban Ghana provide ready access to energy dense food options, which are purchased by pupils both within and outside of school premises. Timely interventions inclusive of school food policies can encourage healthier diets among pupils.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Australian federal government will soon release voluntary sodium reduction targets for 30 packaged food categories through the Healthy Food Partnership. Previous assessments of voluntary targets show variable industry engagement, and little is known about the extent that major food companies and their products contribute to dietary sodium purchases among Australian households. METHODS:The aim of this cross-sectional study was to identify the relative contribution that food companies and their products made to Australian household sodium purchases in 2018, and to examine differences in sodium purchases by household income level. We used 1 year of grocery purchase data from a nationally representative consumer panel of Australian households who reported their grocery purchases (the Nielsen Homescan panel), combined with database that contains product-specific sodium content for packaged foods and beverages (FoodSwitch). The top food companies and food categories were ranked according to their contribution to household sodium purchases. Differences in per capita sodium purchases by income levels were assessed by 1-factor ANOVA. All analyses were modelled to the Australian population in 2018 using sample weights. RESULTS:Sodium data were available from 7188 households who purchased 26,728 unique products and purchased just under 7.5 million food product units. Out of 1329 food companies, the top 10 accounted for 35% of unique products and contributed to 58% of all sodium purchased from packaged foods and beverages. The top three companies were grocery food retailers each contributing 12-15% of sodium purchases from sales of their private label products, particularly processed meat, cheese and bread. Out of the 67 food categories, the top 10 accounted for 73% of sodium purchased, particularly driven by purchases of processed meat (14%), bread (12%) and sauces (11%). Low-income Australian households purchased significantly more sodium from packaged products than high-income households per capita (452?mg/d, 95%CI: 363-540?mg/d, P?<?0.001). CONCLUSIONS:A small number of food companies and food categories account for most of the dietary sodium purchased by Australian households. Prioritizing government engagement with these groups could deliver a large reduction in population sodium intake.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) required major revisions to food packages in 2009; effects on nationwide low-income household purchases remain unexamined. METHODS:This study examines associations between WIC revisions and nutritional profiles of packaged food purchases from 2008 to 2014 among 4,537 low-income households with preschoolers in the U.S. (WIC participating versus nonparticipating) utilizing Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel data. Overall nutrients purchased (e.g., calories, sugar, fat), amounts of select food groups with nutritional attributes that are encouraged (e.g., whole grains, fruits and vegetables) or discouraged (e.g., sugar-sweetened beverages, candy) consistent with dietary guidance, composition of purchases by degree of processing (less, moderate, or high), and convenience (requires preparation, ready to heat, or ready to eat) were measured. Data analysis was performed in 2016. Longitudinal random-effects model adjusted outcomes controlling for household composition, education, race/ethnicity of the head of the household, county quarterly unemployment rates, and seasonality are presented. RESULTS:Among WIC households, significant decreases in purchases of calories (-11%), sodium (-12%), total fat (-10%), and sugar (-15%) occurred, alongside decreases in purchases of refined grains, grain-based desserts, higher-fat milks, and sugar-sweetened beverages, and increases in purchases of fruits/vegetables with no added sugar/fats/salt. Income-eligible nonparticipating households had similar, but less pronounced, reductions. Changes were gradual and increased over time. CONCLUSIONS:WIC food package revisions appear associated with improved nutritional profiles of food purchases among WIC participating households compared with low-income nonparticipating households. These package revisions may encourage WIC families to make healthier choices among their overall packaged food purchases.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:This study examines trends in the prevalence of price promotions among packaged food and beverage purchases, differences in prevalence by household race/ethnicity or income, and the association between price promotions and the nutritional profile of purchases. DESIGN:This cross-sectional study utilizes a dataset of 90 million purchases from 38,744 (2008) to 45,042 (2012) US households in 2008-2012. Chi-square tests were used to examine whether the proportion of purchases with price promotions changed over time or differed by household race/ethnicity or income. T-tests were used to compare purchased products' nutritional profiles. RESULTS:Prevalence of price promotions among packaged food and beverage purchases increased by 8% and 6%, respectively, from 2008 to 2012, with both reaching 34% by 2012. Higher-income households had greater proportions of purchases with price promotions than lower-income households. Asian households had the highest proportion of purchases with any price promotion, followed by non-Hispanic whites. While total price-promoted packaged food purchases had higher mean energy, total sugar, and saturated fat densities than purchases with no price promotions, absolute differences were small. CONCLUSIONS:Prevalence of price promotions among US household purchases increased from 2008 to 2012 and was greater for higher-income households. No clear associations emerged between presence of price promotions and nutritional quality of purchases.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Delay discounting is a neurocognitive trait that has been linked to poor nutritional health and obesity, but its role in specific dietary choices is unclear. This study tested whether individual differences in delay discounting are related to the healthfulness of household food purchases and reliance on nonstore food sources such as restaurants. METHOD:The food purchases of 202 primary household food shoppers were objectively documented for 14 days through a food receipt collection and analysis protocol. The nutrient content of household food purchases was derived for each participant, and the overall diet quality (Healthy Eating Index-2015) and energy density (kcal/g) of foods and beverages were calculated. The proportion of energy from nonstore food sources was also derived. Delay discounting was assessed with a choice task featuring hypothetical monetary rewards. RESULTS:Data were available for 12,624 foods and beverages purchased across 2,340 shopping episodes. Approximately 13% of energy was purchased from restaurants and other nonstore food sources. Steeper discounting rates were associated with lower overall Healthy Eating Index-2015 scores and a higher energy density (kcal/g) of purchased foods. Associations were attenuated but remained statistically significant when accounting for body mass index and sociodemographic variables. Discounting rates were unrelated to reliance on nonstore food sources or the energy density of purchased beverages. CONCLUSIONS:Delay discounting is related to the healthfulness of food purchases among primary household shoppers. As food purchasing is a key antecedent of dietary intake, delay discounting may be a viable target in dietary and weight management interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).