Consumer food choices: the role of price and pricing strategies. Public Health Nutr

Department of Health Sciences and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 07/2011; 14(12):2220-6. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980011001637
Source: PubMed


To study differences in the role of price and value in food choice between low-income and higher-income consumers and to study the perception of consumers about pricing strategies that are of relevance during grocery shopping.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using structured, written questionnaires. Food choice motives as well as price perceptions and opinion on pricing strategies were measured.
The study was carried out in point-of-purchase settings, i.e. supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and sports canteens.
Adults (n 159) visiting a point-of-purchase setting were included.
Price is an important factor in food choice, especially for low-income consumers. Low-income consumers were significantly more conscious of value and price than higher-income consumers. The most attractive strategies, according to the consumers, were discounting healthy food more often and applying a lower VAT (Value Added Tax) rate on healthy food. Low-income consumers differ in their preferences for pricing strategies.
Since price is more important for low-income consumers we recommend mainly focusing on their preferences and needs.

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    • "The question of what represents an acceptable level of taxation/subsidy and the most-effective fiscal policy or combination of policies remains unanswered [51] and is likely to be context-dependent. Whilst previous authors such as Caraher and Cowburn [52], Steenhius et al. [53] and more recently Mytton et al. [51] have recommended a combined approach of taxation and subsidies, Eyles et al. [23••] reports that the results for combined approaches were less clear (due to the variability in the tax/subsidy combinations being evaluated). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cost-effective, sustainable strategies are urgently required to curb the global obesity epidemic. To date, fiscal policies such as taxes and subsidies have been driven largely by imperatives to raise revenue or increase supply, rather than to change population behaviours. This paper reviews the economic evaluation literature around the use of fiscal policies to prevent obesity. The cost-effectiveness literature is limited, and more robust economic evaluation studies are required. However, uncertainty and gaps in the effectiveness evidence base need to be addressed first: more studies are needed that collect 'real-world' empirical data, and larger studies with more robust designs and longer follow-up timeframes are required. Reliability of cross-price elasticity data needs to be investigated, and greater consideration given to moderators of intervention effects and the sustainability of outcomes. Economic evaluations should adopt a societal perspective, incorporate a broader spectrum of economic costs and consider other factors likely to affect the implementation of fiscal measures. The paucity of recent cost-effectiveness studies means that definitive conclusions about the value for money of fiscal policies for obesity prevention cannot yet be drawn. However, as in other public health areas such as alcohol and tobacco, early indications are that population-level fiscal policies are likely to be potentially effective and cost-saving.
    09/2013; 2(3):211-224. DOI:10.1007/s13679-013-0062-y
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    • "n = 658 people signed up and were checked for eligibility (Fig. 2). For this study, the main interest was in participants with a lower socio-economic status (SES) since they have the largest burden of diet-related disease and financial barriers in taking up a healthy diet mainly applies to them (Darmon and Drewnowski, 2008; Steenhuis et al., 2011; Waterlander et al., 2010b). Because Dutch people are reluctant in providing their income, inclusion criteria were set on having completed a medium secondary vocational education or lower and/or being unemployed. "
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    ABSTRACT: Fiscal policies may form a solution in improving dietary intake. This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of varying taxing and subsiding schemes to stimulate healthier food purchases. A randomized controlled trial with three levels of price reduction on healthy foods (no; 25%; 50%)×three levels of price increase on unhealthy foods (5%; 10%; 25%) factorial design was used. 150 participants were randomized into one of nine conditions and were asked to purchase groceries at a web-based supermarket. Data were collected in the Netherlands in January-February 2010 and analyzed using analysis of covariance. Subjects receiving 50% discount purchased significantly more healthy foods than subjects receiving no (mean difference=6.62 items, p<0.01) or 25% discount (mean difference=4.87 items, p<0.05). Moreover, these subjects purchased more vegetables (mean difference=821 g;p<0.05 compared to no discount). However, participants with the highest discount also purchased significantly more calories. No significant effects of the price increases on unhealthy foods were found. Price decreases are effective in stimulating healthy food purchases, but the proportion of healthy foods remains unaffected. Price increases up to 25% on unhealthier products do not significantly affect food purchases. Future studies are important to validate these results in real supermarkets and across different countries.
    Preventive Medicine 02/2012; 54(5):323-30. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.02.009 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    • "Examples of potential pricing strategies include increased taxes on sugar sweetened beverages [3], snack foods [4], fatty or high-caloric foods [5-7]; or introducing healthy food subsidies [8]. In a previously conducted Delphi study [9], focus group study [10] and quantitative survey [11] expert and consumer viewpoints on the kind of pricing strategies that are considered to be most feasible and effective in stimulating healthy food choices were examined. All three studies investigated a wide range of strategies including taxes, subsidies, and insurance measures (e.g., receiving an insurance reduction when eating healthily). "
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    ABSTRACT: Lowering the price of fruit and vegetables is a promising strategy in stimulating the purchase of those foods. However, the true effects of this strategy are not well studied and it is unclear how the money saved is spent. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of a 25% discount on fruits and vegetables on food purchases in a supermarket environment. A randomized controlled trial with two research conditions was conducted: a control condition with regular prices (n = 52) and an experimental condition with a 25% discount on fruits and vegetables (n = 63). The experiment was carried out using a three-dimensional web-based supermarket, which is a software application in the image of a real supermarket. Data were collected in 2010 in the Netherlands. Participants received a fixed budget and were asked to buy weekly household groceries at the web-based supermarket. Differences in fruit and vegetable purchases, differences in expenditures in other food categories and differences in total calories were analyzed using independent samples t-tests and multiple linear regression models accounting for potential effect modifiers and confounders. The purchased amount of fruit plus vegetables was significantly higher in the experimental condition compared to the control condition (Δ984 g per household per week, p = .03) after appropriate adjustments. This corresponds to a 25% difference compared to the control group. Both groups had similar expenditures in unhealthier food categories, including desserts, soda, crisps, candy and chocolate. Furthermore, both groups purchased an equal number of food items and an equal amount of calories, indicating that participants in the discount condition did not spend the money they saved from the discounts on other foods than fruits and vegetables. A 25% discount on fruits and vegetables was effective in stimulating purchases of those products and did neither lead to higher expenditures in unhealthier food categories nor to higher total calories purchased. Future studies in real supermarkets need to confirm these findings.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 02/2012; 9(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-9-11 · 4.11 Impact Factor
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