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    Reducing consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages through banning price promotions: what is the evidence and will it work?

    Watt, T. and Beckert, Walter and Smith, R. and Cornelsen, L. (2020) Reducing consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages through banning price promotions: what is the evidence and will it work? Public Health Nutrition , ISSN 1368-9800. (In Press)

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    Increasing prevalence of overweight and obese people in England has led policymakers to consider regulating the use of price promotions on foods high in fat, sugar and salt content. In January 2019 the Government opened a consultation programme for a policy proposal which significantly restricts the use of price promotions that can induce consumers to buy higher volumes of unhealthy foods and beverages. These proposed policies are the first of their kind in public health and are believed to reduce excess purchasing, and therefore over-consumption of unhealthy products. While the impact of price promotions on sales has been of interest to marketing academics for a long time with modelling studies showing its use increases food and drink sales by 12-43%, it is only now being picked up in the public health sphere. However, the existing evidence does not consider the effects of removing or restricting the use of price promotions across the food sector. In this commentary, we discuss existing evidence, how it deals with the complexity of shoppers’ behaviour in reacting to price promotions on foods and, importantly, what can be learned from it in this policy context. The current evidence base supports the notion that price promotions increase purchasing of unhealthy food, and while the proposed restriction policy is yet to be evaluated for consumption and health effects, there is arguably sufficient evidence to proceed. Close monitoring and proper evaluation should follow to provide empirical evidence of its intended and unintended effects.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Economics, Mathematics and Statistics
    Depositing User: Walter Beckert
    Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2019 08:11
    Last Modified: 04 Aug 2020 07:40


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