Consumers spent less on sweets and desserts when shopping online
Philadelphia, June 8, 2021 – When shopping online, respondents spent more money, bought more items, and spent less on sweets and desserts than when shopping in stores, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition and Behavior Education, published by Elsevier.
In recent years, online grocery shopping has grown exponentially. To describe the grocery shopping habits of people who shopped both online and in-store, and to assess whether shoppers purchased less unhealthy and impulse-sensitive items online, 137 major household shoppers in Maine who shopped at least once in-store and online (with curbside pickup) were surveyed for 5,573 total transactions from 2015-2017.
“There were differences in the amount and types of food purchased when shopping online versus in-store. When study participants shopped online, they spent about 44% more per transaction, and they bought more and a wider variety of items compared to when they shopped in-store ” said lead author Laura Zatz, ScD, MPH, Department of Nutrition and Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA. “We also found that online shopping was associated with reduced spend per transaction on candy, cold or frozen desserts, and cereal-based desserts like cookies and cakes.”
Spending on sugary drinks and sweet and savory snacks did not change when consumers shopped online rather than in-store. Researchers found that in-store shoppers were spending an average of $ 2.50 more per transaction on sweets and desserts.
When they examined why there was no difference between buying sweet and savory snacks and sugary drinks online and in-store, the researchers speculated that these items might not be as sensitive to pulses than initially expected despite their conspicuous location in the end caps and cases.
“Sugary drinks and snacks might have been an intended purchase for many members of our study sample. This would be consistent with other industry research showing that neither sweet nor salty snacks nor sugary drinks are included. of the top five categories of unanticipated food purchases, ”said the lead author. Eric Rimm, ScD, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
“With more and more people shopping online, it will be really important to understand how this affects the nutritional profile of the foods they buy,” said Dr. Zatz. “Encouragingly, our results suggest that online grocery shopping is associated with reduced spending on several unhealthy items. However, we’ll want to monitor buying habits to make sure that sophisticated online marketing tactics, like personalized contextual ads, don’t replace this. . “Evaluating the evolution of marketing practices in the context of online grocery shopping will be an important area for future investigation, especially as more and more consumers use online grocery shopping during the period. COVID-19 pandemic.
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