Efficiency of In-Store Interventions to Impact Customers to Purchase Healthier Food and Beverage Products in Real-Life Grocery Stores: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Foods. 2021 Apr 22;10(5):922. doi: 10.3390/foods10050922.


Grocery stores are important settings to promote healthier food and beverage choices. The present paper aims at reviewing the effectiveness of different types of in-store interventions and how they impact sales of different product category in real grocery stores. Systematic search was conducted in six databases. In-store interventions were categorized according to the framework by Kraak et al. (2017) into one or more of eight interventions (e.g., place, profile, portion, pricing, promotion, healthy default picks, prompting and proximity). This systematic theme-based review follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) data screening and selection. Thirty-six studies were included in the qualitative synthesis and 30 studies were included in the meta-analysis, representing 72 combinations of in-store interventions. The analysis demonstrates that interventions overall had small significant effect size (ES) using Cohen's d on food purchase behavior (d = 0.17, 95% CI [0.04, 0.09]), with largest ES for pricing (d = 0.21) and targeting fruits and vegetables (d = 0.28). Analysis of ES of in-store interventions show that pricing, and pricing combined with promotion and prompting, effectively impacted purchase behavior. Interventions significantly impacted both sales of healthy and unhealthy products and significantly increased sales of fruits and vegetables, healthy beverage and total volume of healthy products. Results should however be interpreted with some caution, given the relatively low quality of overall evidence and low number of studies and observations for some types of intervention. Further research exploring impact on different in-store interventions and targeting especially unhealthy products are needed.

Keywords: choice architecture; consumer behavior; food choice motivations; food environment; healthy and nutritional food choices; interventions; nudging; obesity; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review