Harnessing the Power of Supermarkets to Help Reverse Childhood Obesity

Public Health and Supermarket Experts Explore Grocery Store Marketing Practices to Promote Healthier and Lower-Calorie Foods

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and The Food Trust examines marketing strategies that may help parents, caregivers and youths select and purchase healthier foods and beverages at the grocery store. Released on April 3, 2011, at the Food Marketing Institute’s Health and Wellness Conference in Florida, Harnessing the Power of Supermarkets to Help Reverse Childhood Obesity includes case studies and recommendations about marketing tactics, such as in-store promotions, placement and pricing, that can encourage healthy eating, increase customer satisfaction and help food retailers increase profitability.

The report provides highlights from a meeting co-hosted by RWJF and The Food Trust in June 2010. More than 60 public health leaders, food retailers, food manufacturers, consumer product designers and marketers met in Philadelphia to address the vital role supermarkets can play in providing access to healthy affordable foods in all communities, and the unique role they can play in reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, especially in lower-income and multi-ethnic communities. Throughout the meeting, participants worked to find “win-win-win” solutions for consumers, retailers and manufacturers.

Some of the recommendations included:

  • Making the connection between healthy diets and healthy profits. Consumer demand for healthy products is growing, and many manufacturers are shifting their product portfolios in a healthier direction, while retailers are developing innovative ways to sell these products.
  • Creating cross-sector partnerships to develop, evaluate and spread practical marketing innovations with high potential to make healthy foods more appealing and available, such as replacing candy and snacks in check-out aisles with healthier products, and creating brands for fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Developing a rating system to identify family-friendly stores that meet defined standards for healthy youth-oriented marketing practices.

RWJF Video

Harnessing the Power of Supermarkets to Help Reverse Childhood Obesity

"When we talk about the food gap in America, we're really talking about communities like North Philadelphia. Some of the work that we're doing is helping youth understand what good nutrition looks like, and to help corner stores, who are really the primary source of food in North Philadelphia, understand the kinds of things they can do to offer better food for the kids as they're coming to and from school, and to market that food, so that it's profitable for them."
-Allison Karpyn, Director of Research & Evaluation
The Food Trust

This video is a collaboration between The Food Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

See more RWJF videos

Most Requested