Grocery store coupons influence shoppers’ food purchases. Unfortunately, according to a recent CDC study, many of those coupons aren’t very good for you.
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Out of most available online store coupons, 25% are for processed snack foods, candies, and desserts (the largest category). Approximately 12% of coupons were for beverages, more than half of which were for sodas, juices, and sports/energy drinks. Few coupons were available for fruits (<1%) or vegetables (3%). Grocery retailers may be uniquely positioned to positively influence Americans’ dietary patterns, and engaging retailers in efforts to provide store coupons for healthy food items may help address public health priorities.
Why is this such a problem? The CDC has highlighted four important facts about consumers:
- The failure of most Americans to meet dietary recommendations contributes to the obesity epidemic.
- Interventions targeting consumers’ grocery store purchases can aid in efforts to improve the dietary choices.
- Food prices are an important driver of consumption patterns.
- Almost one-third of shoppers now use online coupons.
How Available Were “Healthy” Coupons?