The goals of this research are to: 1) refine a conceptual framework for the hypothesized influence of the online food retail environment on food choices and 2) conduct a mixed-methods content analysis of the leading online food retail platforms. Related to the first goal, the research team will refine the conceptual model by conducting key informant interviews with their expert advisory board, which includes members of the Healthy Food Retail Methods Working Group and at least 10 industry experts. These interviews will inform the development of the coding instrument which will be used in the content analysis. For the content analysis, the research team will purposefully sample 15 online food retailers (9 that are participating in the USDA online SNAP pilot, the top 5 U.S. grocery retailers by sales, and Instacart). They will download the entire website for each retailer and capture data from the homepage, subpages directly linked to the homepage, product pages for a selection of approximately 30 foods and beverages likely to contribute to obesity, subpages directly linked to the product page, and the checkout page. The content categories used will be informed by their conceptual framework, expert interviews, feedback from the advisory board, and preliminary qualitative assessment of the sites. Data will be entered into a Microsoft Excel database and descriptive statistics will be used to document practices used by retailers.
Start Date: April 2019
ID #: CAS052
Organization: John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Project Lead: Alyssa Moran, ScD, MPH, RD