An Analysis of Bronx-based Online Grocery Store Circulars for Nutritional Content of Food and Beverage Products
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- Ethan, D., Samuel, L. & Basch, C.H. J Community Health (2013) 38: 521. doi:10.1007/s10900-012-9643-z
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With the rising rates of diabetes and obesity in New York City’s poorest communities, efforts to assist low-income residents in spending money to promote nutritious food consumption have increased. The objective of this study was to assess the extent to which Bronx-based grocery stores offered nutritious foods on sale through their weekly circulars. Over a 2-month period, we analyzed 2,311 food and beverage products placed on the first page of online circulars for fifteen Bronx-based grocery stores. For each circular, we recorded the number of starchy and non-starchy fruits and vegetables; for each product, total fiber and carbohydrate content per serving (in grams), whether the product was processed, and sale price were recorded. Total sugar content (in grams) was recorded for all sugar-sweetened beverages. Over 84 % of the products were processed, and almost 40 % had at least one carbohydrate choice (15 g) per food serving. Only 16.5 % of the products were fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, and 1.4 % had fiber content of 5 or more grams per serving. Requiring the purchase of multiples of unhealthy products to receive the sale price was also noted. Almost three-quarters of the sugar-sweetened beverages were advertised with promotional sales compared to over half of the fresh fruits and only one-third of fresh vegetables. We identified no other studies that address nutritional content of foods found in grocery store circulars. More research is necessary to determine if purchasing nutritious products at grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods is influenced by sale prices.