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Health Mark Q. 1996;14(2):85-99.

Health marketing in the supermarket: using prompting, product sampling, and price reduction to increase customer purchases of lower-fat items.

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  • 1University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.


Reducing purchase and consumption of higher-fat foods is an important health objective for the nation since these behaviors are associated with cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Public health agents attempt to promote health-related behaviors, such as purchases of lower-fat foods, by changing key features of relevant environments. This study examined the effects of a marketing intervention in a supermarket on customer purchases of lower-fat products. Customers of one store of a major supermarket chain participated in this study. Direct observations of customer purchases of lower-fat milk, salad dressings, and frozen desserts were conducted. The supermarket intervention consisted of prompting, product sampling, and price reduction (store coupons). Using an interrupted time series design with switching replications, we found low to moderate increases for the lower-fat counterparts of milk, frozen desserts, and salad dressing. The greatest increase in purchases was found with frozen desserts. Findings from this study suggest that prompting, product sampling, and price reduction can increase customer purchases of some lower-fat products. Implications of these findings for the development and evaluation of health marketing interventions are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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