Researchers with the University of California, San Francisco, have reported
that 25 percent of 1,056 online coupons surveyed during a four-week period
“were for processed snack foods, candies and desserts,” raising questions
about the impact of retailer discounts on dietary patterns. Andrea López &
Hilary Seligman, “Online Grocery Store Coupons and Unhealthy Foods, United
States,” Preventing Chronic Disease, January 2014. According to the study,
which reviewed all online coupons weekly from six retail grocery chains
across the United States, the largest percentage of available coupons was for
processed snack foods (25 percent), followed by prepared meals (14 percent),
beverages (12 percent) and cereals (11 percent). While less than 1 percent
of coupons were for fruits or beverages, more than 50 percent of the total
beverage coupons were for sodas, juices and sports/energy drinks.

“Our data are consistent with previous research showing that grocery stores
infrequently promote foods that support a healthy weight,” conclude the
study’s authors. “Coupons influence consumer purchases both by discounting
price and by acting as an ‘informational stimulant,’ reminding consumers of
the product. Coupons are used to influence consumers to try new products
or brands, to purchase additional items, and to purchase items with greater
frequency, and coupon programs can increase demand for specific foods . . .
Grocery retailers may be uniquely positioned to positively influence Americans’
dietary patterns.”


Issue 511

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.