Grocery stores can be an important resource for health and nutrition with the variety and economic value of foods offered. Weekly circulars are a means of promoting foods at a sale price. To date, little is known about the extent that nutritious foods are advertised and prominently placed in circulars. This study’s aim was to compare the nutritional quality of products advertised on the front page of online circulars from grocery stores in high- versus low-income neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). Circulars from grocery stores in the five highest and five lowest median household income NYC zip codes were analyzed. Nutrition information for food products was collected over a two-month period with a total of 805 products coded. The study found no significant difference between the nutritional quality of products advertised on the front page of online circulars from grocery stores in high- versus low-income neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). In both groups, almost two-thirds of the products advertised were processed, one-quarter were high in carbohydrates, and few to no products were low-sodium, high-fiber, or reduced-, low- or zero fat. Through innovative partnerships with health professionals, grocery stores are increasingly implementing in-store and online health promotion strategies. Weekly circulars can be used as a means to regularly advertise and prominently place more healthful and seasonal foods at an affordable price, particularly for populations at higher risk for nutrition-related chronic disease.
Ethan, D., Basch, C. H., Rajan, S., Samuel, L. & Hammond, R. N. (2013). A Comparison of the Nutritional Quality of Food Products Advertised in Grocery Store Circulars of High- versus Low-Income New York City Zip Codes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(1), 537-547. doi:10.3390/ijerph110100537.