Background: To analyze which foods and beverages, frequently included in advertising mail delivered by supermarkets in the Principality of Asturias, can be considered essential for consumption by the population, as well as to compare their price with that of essential products.
Methods: Cross-sectional, descriptive study of supermarket sales circulars delivered to seven homes in Asturias (Spain) by four supermarket chains from July to December 2018. Type of product, its classification as essential or non-essential and mean price of the advertised product were registered.
Results: The study identified 14,314 products, mostly belonging to the categories: "cakes, pastries, chocolate, sugar, and sweeteners" (15.3?%), "milk and milk derivatives" (9.7?%), "processed meats".and "alcoholic beverages" (8.9?% each) and "ready-made" (8.4?%). Products considered to be non-essential were found to predominate (61.9?%). Significant differences in product type were observed between supermarket chains. Essential products had a lower mean price than the non-essential products, both overall and for each supermarket chain, and was significantly lower for one of them. .
Conclusions: Products which are non-essential from the point of view of health, such as sugar-rich products, processed meats, and alcoholic beverages, dominated the advertising mail delivered door-to-door by supermarkets in the Principality of Asturias. On a positive note, the prices of essential products, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, were, on average, significantly lower than the prices of non-essential products.