Objectives: Compelling evidence suggests that consumption of unhealthy drinks is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of a number of adverse health outcomes (1, 2). This study assessed the impact of the removal of unhealthy beverages from display by the retailer at a self-service café within a major health service.
Methodology: Beverages were categorised based on a state government nutrient profiling system, which classifies beverages as ‘green’ (best choices), ‘amber’ (choose carefully) and ‘red’ (limit). The total sales (as number of items sold per week) of beverages in the café were measured for five weeks prior to strategy implementation and for another six weeks after removal of all red beverages from self-service display (which were still available for purchase on request). T-tests were used to compare mean total beverage sales and sales of red, amber and green beverages, pre- and post-strategy implementation.
Results: After strategy implementation, the proportion of red beverages sold decreased significantly from 34% to 10% of total beverage sales (P <0.001). As amber and green beverage sales increased after strategy implementation, mean total weekly beverage sales did not significantly change (P=0.78). Consumers appeared to more readily switch from purchasing red beverages to purchasing amber beverages, rather than green beverages (the healthiest option).
Conclusions: The removal of unhealthy beverages from display can result in consumers making healthier purchases, while not significantly affecting retailer sales.