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Online grocery shopping could improve access to healthy food, but it may not be equally accessible to all populations – especially those at higher risk for food insecurity. The current study aimed to compare the socio-demographic characteristics of families who ordered groceries online v. those who only shopped in-store.
We analysed enrollment survey and 44 weeks of individually linked grocery transaction data. We used univariate χ2 and t-tests and logistic regression to assess differences in socio-demographic characteristics between households that only shopped in-store and those that shopped online with curbside pickup (online only or online and in-store).
Two Maine supermarkets.
863 parents or caregivers of children under 18 years old enrolled in two fruit and vegetable incentive trials.
Participants had a total of 32 757 transactions. In univariate assessments, online shoppers had higher incomes (P < 0 0001), were less likely to participate in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; P < 0 0001) and were more likely to be female (P = 0·04). Most online shoppers were 30–39 years old, and few were 50 years or older (P = 0·003). After controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, number of children, number of adults, income and SNAP participation, female primary shoppers (OR = 2·75, P = 0·003), number of children (OR = 1·27, P = 0·04) and income (OR = 3·91 for 186–300 % federal poverty line (FPL) and OR = 6·92 for >300 % FPL, P < 0·0001) were significantly associated with likelihood of shopping online.
In the current study of Maine families, low-income shoppers were significantly less likely to utilise online grocery ordering with curbside pickup. Future studies could focus on elucidating barriers and developing strategies to improve access.
To test the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a healthier checkout pilot study in a convenience store chain.
A quasi-experimental study was conducted comparing a 3-month ‘healthier checkouts’ intervention in ten convenience stores which stocked eight healthier items in the checkout space and ten comparison stores assigned to continue stocking their current checkout space product mix. All aspects of the intervention were implemented by the retailer. The research team conducted in-person fidelity checks to assess implementation. Sales data were collected from the retailer in order to compare mean baseline to intervention sales of the eight healthier items in intervention and comparison groups while controlling for overall store sales.
Convenience store chain.
Twenty convenience stores in New Hampshire.
The increases in sales of healthier items between the baseline and intervention periods among the intervention and comparison stores were not statistically significant; however, the overall pattern of the results showed promising changes that should be expanded on in future studies. Intervention fidelity checks indicated that results may have been attenuated by variability in intervention implementation.
This study advances the evidence for effective promotion of healthier food purchases in the convenience store chain setting and adds to the current literature on retail checkout space interventions. Additional research is needed to confirm and expand these results.
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