Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting

Invited talk: Can price discounts on healthy food influence spending in an extremely socioeconomically disadvantaged population?: The SHOP@RIC study (#13)

Julie Brimblecombe 1

Globally, diet is the leading risk for burden of disease. Diet is poorer and burden of disease higher for socio-economically disadvantaged populations in high and middle income countries. Strategies are urgently needed to address this inequity. We examined the effectiveness of a price discount on selected purchases with and without consumer education, delivered in-store in remote Indigenous communities. A stepped-wedge randomised design was used, with 20 communities randomly assigned to 5 sets of 4 communities, spaced eight weeks apart. A 20% price discount on fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, water and diet soft-drinks was applied for a period of 24 weeks in the community store. Two stores in each set were randomly assigned to receive a combined strategy (discount and education). Intervention effect was measured using mixed models employing weekly point-of-sale data for 131 weeks. The primary outcome was the percent change in fruit and vegetable purchases (grams) per person per day. The immediate effect of applying the price discount alone was to increase sales of fruit and vegetables combined by 13% (95%CI: 5%, 23%), fruit by 21% (7, 37) and vegetables by 9% (1,18). Bottled water sales increased by 18% (1, 37); no significant effect was observed for artificially sweetened soft drink 5% (-6, 18). The additional benefit of in-store consumer education was an increase in vegetable sales of 14% (3%, 26%). Consistent with other studies, a price discount can improve food purchasing in low socio-economic communities.