224160 Impact of price and labeling on the purchase of locally and sustainably produced, organic, and healthy food

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Jennifer Feenstra Schultz, PhD , Health Care Management Program, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Lara LaCaille, PhD, LP , Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Kim Nichols Dauner, MPH, PhD , University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Rick LaCaille, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Stephanie Hooker , Department of Psychology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Jill Klingner, PhD, RN , Health Care Management Program, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN
Background: Consumption of unhealthy food may lead to obesity and chronic conditions that result in higher health care costs, reduced productivity, and possibly shorter life spans. Thus it may be efficient to tax unhealthy food to deter consumption and subsidize the purchase of healthy food to encourage consumption that may reduce the likelihood of obesity and improve health. The lack of knowledge about the individual and community health benefits from buying locally and sustainably produced food is also an issue. Therefore educating consumers and labeling food items may be important in influencing food choices. The goal of this study was to investigate whether changing prices and adding labels (nutritional, organic, sustainably produced and local) at the point-of-purchase changed buying behavior. Methods: With the permission of a community hospital, prices and labels were experimentally manipulated in four phases with two baseline periods over 18 weeks. The phases were designed to determine the impact of price changes separately from labeling. Results: Sales of local, organic and healthy foods increased after the price manipulation while sales of unhealthy, nonorganic and nonlocal foods declined. Labeling food as organic or local further increased sales of these food items. Nutritional labeling decreased the consumption of unhealthy food and increased consumption of healthy food. Conclusions: It appears that taxing unhealthy food and subsidizing healthy food while simultaneously labeling food provides the biggest impact in terms of sales.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of food taxes and subsidies on healthy, organic, local and sustainable foods on behavior in a hospital setting. Discuss the impact of food labeling of healthy, organic, local and sustainable foods on behavior in a hospital setting.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Economic Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Part of the team conducting the research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.