Published: September 2012

ID #: 66969

Journal: Am J Prev Med

Authors: Sharkey JR, Dean WR, Nalty CC

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Product assortment–the presence and variety of foods and beverages–is a key in-store marketing strategy to influence consumer choice.  This paper examines product assortment within conveniences stores in rural Texas-border colonias. Researchers found that convenience stores in this area provide a greater assortment of less healthy foods and beverages compared with healthier foods and beverages. Convenience stores displayed a large product assortment of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), with a median of 86.5 unique varieties; candy (76 varieties); salty snacks (77 varieties); fried chips (44 varieties); cookies and pasties (19 varieties); and frozen sweets (21 varieties). This is compared with 17 varieties of non-SSBs and three varieties of baked chips. Basic food items provided by convenience stores included milk (84% of stores); fresh fruit (33%); fresh vegetables (35%); canned vegetables (78%); white bread (71%); and deli-style packaged meat (57%). The authors conclude that that there are opportunities to influence consumer food choice through programs that alter the balance between healthier and less healthy food and beverages in convenience stores.

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