Does your grocery store do its best to encourage healthy eating for its customers? FoodFacts.com knows that there’s a lot of promotion going on in grocery stores throughout America. There’s signage promoting sales. There are displays throughout the store emphasizing a variety of different items. Vegetables and fruits that are in season often take center stage. Sale items are often on display. It’s all done in the hope that you’ll modify your shopping list to include those items they want you to purchase. There’s a possible down side to that though, with the possibility that individual stores may be putting unhealthy items on display.
Is your favorite grocery store making you fat? According to new research findings, a Grocer Retailer Scorecard may be an effective, healthy shopping tool that benefits both grocers and shoppers. “Grocers can benefit from encouraging healthy shopping practices because they can sell more perishable items like fruits and vegetables rather than tossing them in the dumpster after a few days,” says lead researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and author of the new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, “The benefit to shoppers is obvious; healthier groceries result in healthier eating!”
Using principles of behavioral economics and psychology, Food and Brand Lab researchers identified 100 changes that grocers could employ to make it easier for shoppers to make healthier food selections used them to create a Grocery Retailer Scorecard. They then tested the scorecard in a large grocery store chain to see if it could be reliably used by shoppers to rate whether a grocery store is helping them to be healthy or heavy.
The researchers concluded that Grocer Retailer Scorecards can be a reliable way to rate how healthy a grocery store is. A person with no training can confidently use such scorecards to rate their favorite store to determine whether it makes it easier or harder for them to select and purchase healthy foods. The scorecards can also be used by the grocers themselves to make evidence based healthy changes to their stores that promote healthier purchases.
FoodFacts.com will be curious about the results of the tests that have been done. While we know and understand that shopping the outside aisles is an important way to keep the majority of your purchases fresh and healthy, we also know that it’s very easy to find yourself perusing the other areas. It’s easy to understand how the store itself can influence purchases through sales, signage, and displays. Is the store making it easy for their customers to find and choose fresh, healthy foods? Are seasonal displays attractive and easy to locate? Are only processed foods in boxes and cans on sale?
How do you think your grocery store would score?
This is an interesting idea and one that we’ll follow up on after the results are published. We look to food manufacturers to improve the quality of their offerings. We educate ourselves on the foods available in our grocery store. It makes sense to involve the stores themselves in the process of grocery shopping for good health. They’re a link in the chain of healthy eating and they should participate in the process.