Study: Healthier Supermarket Layout Improves Customers’ Food Choices

New research from the University of Southampton shows that removing confectionery and other unhealthy products from checkouts and the end of nearby aisles and placing fruit and vegetables near store entrances prompts customers to make healthier food purchases.

The study, led by Dr Christina Vogel, Principal Research Fellow in Public Health Nutrition and Janis Baird, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University’s MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, was conducted in partnership with the national supermarket chain Iceland Foods Ltd. The trial took place in a selection of Iceland stores in England and monitored store sales as well as the purchasing and dietary patterns of a sample of regular customers.

The results showed store-wide confectionery sales decreased and fruit and vegetable sales increased when non-food items and water were placed at checkouts and at the end of the opposite aisles, and an expanded fruit and vegetable section was repositioned near the store entrance. Beneficial effects were also observed for household fruit and vegetable purchasing and individual dietary quality. Full details are presented in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine from 24th August 2021.

When talking about the results of the study Dr Vogel said “Altering the layouts of supermarkets could help people make healthier food choices and shift population diet towards the government’s dietary recommendations. The findings of our study suggest that a healthier store layout could lead to nearly 10,000 extra portions of fruit and vegetables and approximately 1,500 fewer portions of confectionery being sold on a weekly basis in each store.”

This research is more comprehensive than previous studies testing whether placement strategies can promote healthier food purchasing which have been limited in scope, for example including only a single location (i.e. checkouts) or placing healthy and unhealthy products together. This study went further, aiming to reduce customers exposure to calorie opportunities by placing non-food items at checkout and aisle-ends opposite and measuring effects on store sales, customer loyalty card purchasing patterns and the diets of more than one household member.

Matt Downes, Head of Format Development at Iceland said “We have been pleased to support this long-term study and the evaluation of how product placement in supermarkets can affect the diets of our customers. We know that childhood obesity is a growing issue and the retail industry has its part to play in tackling this. We hope that the outcomes of the study provide insights for the wider retail industry and policy makers about the impact of store merchandising on purchasing decisions.”

Prof Baird added “These results provide novel evidence to suggest that the intended UK government ban on prominent placement of unhealthy foods across retail outlets could be beneficial for population diet, and that effects may be further enhanced if requirements for a produce section near supermarket entrances were incorporated into the regulation.”

Source: EurekAlert!

“Disinfecting Tunnels” Are Headed to Supermarkets in Post-COVID World

A French company had the ingenious idea of ​​designing a disinfecting tunnel that could soon appear at the entrance of supermarkets and or other commercial areas.

“Customers enter it with their cart and then the product is sprayed on it,” Pierre Nicoletti, the manager of Alineair, the French-based company handling the design and production of the tunnels, told La Voix du Nord.

The tunnel sprays a fine mist of water and nitrogen, Nicoletti said, adding that the mist is “harmless” and “allows surface disinfection of more than 99%”.

In pre-corona times, Alineair designed street furniture, saw its business freeze when the French government initiated lockdowns several months ago as COVID-19 cases and deaths soared. The company, he said, had to reinvent itself and seize the moment in developing a product to combat the virus spread.

“Until two months ago, no one had worked on this type of equipment. I say that without judgment, but in France, we are not the most hygienic, and there was no demand,” he said.

At the moment, there are more than “400 tunnels” being produced at Alineair, notes AFP News. The company is waiting on government approval in the coming weeks to deliver the tunnels to local businesses. With surging demand, the company might have to expand its 15 strong workforce to boost output as these tunnels will likely be in hot demand as Europe attempts to reopen.

Source : ZeroHedge

U.S. Supermarket Puts ‘Food as Medicine’ to the Test

Russell Redman wrote . . . . . . . . .

The Kroger Co. is piloting a program in which physicians can write “food prescriptions” that patients fill at a local store under the guidance of a Kroger Health professional.

Under the test, launched in the spring and now in its next phase, a Cincinnati doctor makes dietary recommendations to diabetes patients and directs them to a nutrition expert at a Kroger supermarket in Forest Park, Ohio, said Kroger Health registered dietitian Bridget Wojciak, RDN/LD. At the store, a dietitian provides personal nutrition counseling and food suggestions to help the patient better manage the disease, in line with the doctor’s orders.

“Right now, we’re in pilot with a local Cincinnati physician offering holistic care for patients with diabetes. As part of that program, it includes a nutrition prescription, which is fulfilled at a Kroger store,” Wojciak said. “Upon successful completion of this pilot, we have plans for rapid expansion, with a vision of filling more nutrition prescriptions than we do prescription for medication.”

Bridget Wojciak-Kroger Health dietitian.jpgBridget Wojciak, a Kroger Health registered dietitian. (Photo courtesy of Kroger)

The food prescription is written, not electronic as with medications, according to Wojciak. Essentially, the script serves as a referral to a Kroger Health dietitian, who then performs an evaluation, which she described as a “total review.”

“It includes learning how to use the OptUP app, a personalized nutrition assessment and understanding patient lifestyle concerns around nutrition,” Wojciak explained. “Then that dietitian provides personalized food recommendations that can be fulfilled by nutrition team member in-store.”

Kroger’s free OptUP mobile app, rolled out in 2018, provides customer’s with a score indicating a product’s nutritional and/or health attributes based on nationally recognized dietary guidelines enhanced by Kroger Health dietitians.

Wojciak noted that the food prescription concept arose from the need to ensure the primary care team has input into patients’ diets and the nutritional guidance they receive is clear and easy to follow.

“When we say ‘food is medicine,’ we want to make clear that it very much still involves the holistic health care team and it still involves primary care,” she said. “We find that a lot of physicians give difficult-to-follow nutrition advice — along the lines of ‘You should improve your diet’ or ‘You should eat better.’ And that becomes very difficult for a patient to understand and implement. So a nutrition prescription is the strategic way to fill the gap between the physician’s guidance and the actual products that will yield health benefits.”

Recommendations are made for specific food items and customized to the patient’s medical condition and additional information collected during the visit with the dietitian. Those receiving the prescriptions are just handed a shopping list, Wojciak pointed out.

“It’s much more comprehensive than that. Most people, even when given a list of foods, don’t necessarily know how to make them, what to do with them, how to store them and how to make it fit into their lifestyle to actually generate the behavior change needed to improve their health. So that’s why we incorporated a dietitian into the workflow,” she explained. “When you work with a registered dietitian with a nutrition prescription, it gives you personalized advice, not only based on your health condition but also on your lifestyle, the number of people in your household, your budget, how comfortable you are with cooking — any factor that would contribute to the way that you eat.”

Going forward, Kroger Health expects to extend the food prescriptions to other health conditions and diseases states at more stores, based on the results of the pilot.

“The vision is that it’s not limited to primary care. Any physician can make a referral to a nutrition prescription at the expansion of the program,” said Wojciak.

Other health conditions that could be addressed by the program include heart disease and cancer. Kroger Health also envisions including pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other health professionals.

“Food just as important in preventing disease as it is in treating it. In the pilot, we’re focusing on those with diabetes, but ‘food is medicine’ can be applied to anyone no matter where they are in their health and wellness journey,” Wojciak said. “Any medical condition could benefit from changes in diet and nutrition. But we encourage people to think of it more broadly and, in the future, also on the preventative side as well as the treatment side.”

Source: Supermarket News

UK’s First Supermarket Designed by Public Health Experts Launches in Central London

Edwina Langley wrote . . . . . . . . .

How to properly tackle obesity? Let public health experts design supermarkets. That’s the message of a recent report released by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Slimming World.

‘Health on the Shelf’ uncovers how the layout of supermarkets, their pricing strategies and general ambiance are fueling obesity, as prominence given to unhealthy food plays a significant role in shopping choices made by customers. Research revealed 15 per cent of people believe supermarkets cause them to ‘go off track’ in their efforts to lose weight, whilst more than one in three claim they impulse-buy unhealthy food and drinks because supermarkets put them on special offer.

The report encouraged retailers to address these issues and released a series of recommendations, one of which was to re-consider store layouts in favour of more health-focused designs. The report advised supermarkets allocate less shelf space to products such as chocolate, crisps and sugary drinks, and give greater visibility to foods based on the Government’s EatWell guide, such as fruit, vegetables, pulses, lean meat and water.

It also encouraged the removal of unhealthy products from eye level, from checkouts and from end of aisle promotions, unless – in the case of the latter – a healthier option is also on promotion, and stated retailers should be more transparent about paid-for product placements, if permitted in-store.

Additionally, healthy snacks should be handed out to shopping customers, the report suggested, whilst live food demonstrations should take place showing how ingredients can be used to create healthy dishes.

To demonstrate how this would work, RSPH and Slimming World have unveiled a pop-up in The People’s Supermarket in Lamb’s Conduit Street in London.

Named ‘Nudge’, the new look store was designed by public health experts and includes a number of health-focused features. Foods such as ‘pasta and rice’ and ‘beans, pulses and eggs’, for instance, have been positioned on sale at aisle ends in place of junk food, whilst greater prominence has been given to fruit and vegetables, and an EatWell Guide displayed on the wall.

Of the report and pop-up, Slimming World Public Health Manager and Dietician Carolyn Pallister said: “Being overweight not only impacts on people’s physical health, it can also impact on overall mental and emotional wellbeing and happiness; anything that helps those of us who struggle with our weight to make healthier choices is a good thing…

“Supermarkets will argue that they are giving their customers the choice; and we haven’t removed those choices at Nudge, all we’ve done is made it easier for customers to choose healthier alternatives and put less emphasis on promotions of foods likely to cause weight gain. If supermarkets empowered their consumers to make these changes themselves though through creating an environment which promoted a healthier diet, they could become part of the solution in helping tackle the obesity epidemic.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, added: “Alongside Slimming World, we are calling on the government to commit to legislation to support supermarkets in promoting healthier choices through legislation. If we change the environment we can encourage healthier choices for all.”

Source: Evening Standard

U.K. Tesco Supermarket Launches New Brand of Vegan Food

Olivia Petter wrote . . . . . . .

Veganism has officially gone mainstream as more restaurants and supermarkets provide for those on a plant-based diet.

Gone are the days when vegans were forced to twiddle their thumbs over a plate of salad leaves – today you can easily find tasty alternatives for ice cream, pizza, liquor and even fast food.

Now, Tesco has jumped on the vegan bandwagon with “Wicked Kitchen”, a new plant-based brand complete with ready meals, sandwiches and salads.

The supermarket giants have partnered with US chef Derek Samo to create the entirely vegan 20-part range.

“When I first arrived in Britain from America I was hugely surprised at how little choice there was for vegans and those considering a lifestyle change,” explains Samo.

“For too long, vegans have been overlooked, with many offerings that are available seemingly created to appease rather than truly please.

“Wicked Kitchen plans to change all that and I’m proud to work with Tesco and offer all its customers delicious meals to get them on board with this growing foodie revolution.”

The range includes a mix of vegetable-based microwavable meals such as mushroom bolognese, BBQ butternut mac, curried cauliflower and teriyaki noodles.

In terms of sandwiches and wraps, shoppers can expect a range of innovative fillings such as carrot pastrami, spicy frijoles and pumpkin falafel.

In addition to three salad options, there are also two flavours of pizza included in the range: caponata and BBQ mushroom, both on a sourdough base.

The range will certainly have wide-range appeal, as the number of vegans in Britain has risen by 360 per cent in the last 10 years while a third of the UK now identifies as “flexitarian”.

Meanwhile, Tesco reports that the demand for chilled vegetarian ready meals and meat substitutes has soared by 25 per cent in the last year alone.

Happy animal product-free feasting.

Source: Independent