Published: January 2023

Journal: Nutrients

Authors: Hodges L, Lowery CM, Patel P, McInnis J, Zhang Q

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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) plans to allow participants to redeem their food package benefits online, i.e., online ordering. As grocery shopping online has become more common, companies have developed strategies to market food products to customers using online (or mobile) grocery shopping platforms. There is a significant knowledge gap in how these strategies may influence WIC participants who choose to shop for WIC foods online. This review examines the relevant literature to (1) identify food marketing strategies used in online grocery shopping platforms, (2) understand how these strategies influence consumer behavior and consumer diet, and (3) consider the implications for WIC participants. A total of 1862 references were identified from a systematic database search, of which 83 were included for full-text screening and 18 were included for data extraction and evidence synthesis. The included studies provide policymakers and other stakeholders involved in developing WIC online order processes with valuable information about the factors that shape healthy food choices in the online food retail environment. Findings indicate that some marketing interventions, such as nutrition labeling and food swaps, may encourage healthier food choices in the online environment and could potentially be tailored to reinforce WIC messaging about a healthy diet.

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