New research suggests supermarket discounts largely focus on unhealthy products

Posted by James Ferre on 28th May 2009

A new study from New Zealand has indicated that supermarket chains are much more likely to discounts unhealthy drinks than healthier alternatives.

The research, published in Nutrition & Dietetics by Wiley-Blackwell, covered 1,500 discounts over a month in four supermarkets in the New Zealand city of Wellington, with just 15 per cent related to the promotion of healthy non-alcoholic beverages.

Author Louise Signal, from the University of Otago, believes some, but not all, of the difference can be accounted for by the higher number of options considered ‘unhealthy’.

“Our study shows healthy drinks are discounted less often than unhealthy drinks. But there are more unhealthy drinks available in supermarkets and this may explain some of the difference,” she said.

“Given the influence discounts can have on what shoppers purchase, supermarkets could promote healthy options by discounting the products that are nutritious and contain less saturated fat and added sugar,” added Claire Hewat, Chief Executive Office of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).

She said this would encourage shoppers to purchase healthier choices at the supermarket and consequently be an important step in addressing overweight and obesity.