Is shopping at certain types of stores associated with the nutrient profile of packaged foods purchased by US households? Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Stern, Dalia
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Nutrition
  • Growing attention is being given to food deserts or areas with poor access to healthy foods. However, most studies looking at the food environment and its association to diet and health do not collect data on where people shop for food, what they actually purchase, or examined the nutrient profile of these purchases. Using packaged food and beverage purchases (PFP) of households participating in the 2000-2012 Homescan longitudinal panel, this work aimed to understand whether the types of stores (e.g., grocery, convenience, warehouse stores, etc.) where US households shop for food are associated with the nutrient profile of PFP and the foods/beverages households purchase. In Aim 1, we classified PFP by type of store and described volume trends, the nutrient profile of PFP and the food/beverage groups households purchased by type of store. The proportion of total volume of household PFP significantly increased from 2000 to 2012 for mass-merchandisers, convenience-stores and warehouse-club and significantly decreased for grocery-chains and non-chain grocery. The energy, total sugar, sodium and saturated fat densities of household PFP from mass-merchandisers, warehouse-club and convenience-stores were higher, compared to grocery-stores. Top common sources of calories from household PFP by food/beverage group include: savory snacks, grain-based desserts, fruit drinks/juices and regular soft-drinks. In Aim 2, we used cluster analysis to derive food shopping patterns from 2000-2012. Then, we used multinomial logistic regression to determine the association between socio-demographic household characteristics and food shopping patterns in 2012. We found three shopping patterns: primary-grocery, primary-mass-merchandise and a combination cluster (i.e., mixture of large and small stores). Regardless of income and race-ethnicity, households predominantly shopped at the primary-grocery cluster. However, among low- and middle-income households, non-whites were less likely to shop at the primary-mass-merchandise cluster and more likely to shop at the combination cluster. In Aim 3, we determined the association between food shopping patterns and nutrient quality of PFP and the food/beverage groups purchased and whether this association differs by race-ethnicity from 2007-2012. We found that, no matter what food shopping pattern different race-ethnic groups employed, the nutrient profile of their purchases and what foods/beverages they purchased were very similar. In conclusion, the ubiquity of unhealthy packaged foods and beverages that are high in sugars, sodium and fat regardless of type of store may thwart efforts to improve eating habits. Our study suggests that policy initiatives that focus on increasing physical access to stores or helping stores sell healthier products to encourage healthier food purchases may be negated by people purchasing foods that are in line with their dietary preferences, time and money constrains, no matter where they shop for food or what is available at the store. Additionally, there is a need to re-focus efforts on improving the nutritional quality of product offerings and promote their sales over less healthy options across all types of stores.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Ng, Shu Wen
  • Popkin, Barry
  • Robinson, Whitney
  • Guilkey, David
  • Gordon-Larsen, Penny
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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