Indexed on: 26 Nov '20Published on: 26 Nov '20Published in: Canadian journal of public health = Revue canadienne de sante publique
This paper examines the retail food environment in grocery and convenience stores across Nova Scotia with specific attention to prominence and promotion of foods and beverages, as well as in-store promotion of foods and beverages to children. A descriptive cross-sectional analysis of data on the availability, price, prominence, and promotion of foods and beverages classified as "healthier" and "less healthy" was undertaken as a part of a Nova Scotia Consumer Food Environment (NS-CFE) project. Data were collected in a random stratified sample of 47 grocery stores and 59 convenience stores by trained research assistants working in pairs using adapted Nutrition Environment Measures Survey Toronto grocery store (NEMS-S) and NEMS Corner Store (NEMS-CS) tools. "Less healthy" snack foods and sugar-sweetened beverages were more prominently displayed than "healthier" options with an exception of cereal, at both grocery and convenience stores (all p < 0.001). Coke™ and fruit juice were more expensive than water in both grocery and convenience stores (both p ≤ 0.05). Significantly more child-specific strategies were used to promote "less healthy" compared with "healthier" options in both grocery and convenience stores (both p < 0.001). Results of this study demonstrate that "less healthy" options are significantly more prominently displayed and more heavily marketed to all Nova Scotians, including children, in the retail food environment compared with items classified as "healthier". These findings indicate that there is a need for comprehensive structural changes to the retail food environment in Nova Scotia, to support population health.