Restricting the promotion and merchandising of unhealthy foods and beverages leads to a reduction in their sales, presenting an opportunity to improve people’s diets, according to a randomised controlled trial of 20 stores in remote regions of Australia published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.
Merchandising in food retail outlets, such as price promotions, end-of-aisle displays and placement at eye level, can be effective in stimulating sales. This has been used to promote sales of healthier food, but rarely tested to discourage people from buying unhealthy food.
In the study, restricting merchandising of unhealthy products reduced the purchase of sugar sweetened drinks and confectionery, resulting in a reduction in the total amount of free sugar purchased from food and drinks by 2.8%; the equivalent of 1.8 tons of sugar overall across all of the intervention stores. Free sugars include foods and drinks with added sugars, plus