Published: December 2020

Journal: Obesity Reviews

Authors: Houghtaling B, Holston D, Szocs C, Penn J, Qi D, Hedrick V

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Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a primary source of added sugars in the American diet. Habitual SSB consumption is associated with obesity and noncommunicable disease and is one factor contributing to U.S. health disparities. Public health responses to address marketing-mix and choice-architecture (MMCA) strategies used to sell SSB products may be required. Thus, our goal was to identify original research about stocking and marketing practices used to sell SSB in U.S. food stores. We used Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for rapid reviewing. We searched six databases and Google Scholar using key terms focused on store type and SSB products. We characterized results using an MMCA framework with categories place, profile, portion, pricing, promotion, priming or prompting, and proximity. Our search resulted in the identification of 29 articles. Most results focused on profile (e.g., SSB availability) (n = 13), pricing (e.g., SSB prices or discounts) (n = 13), or promotion (e.g., SSB advertisements) (n = 13) strategies. We found some evidence of targeted MMCA practices toward at-risk consumers and differences by store format, such as increased SSB prominence among supermarkets. The potential for systematic variations in MMCA strategies used to sell SSB requires more research. We discuss implications for public health, health equity, and environmental sustainability.

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