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Healthier choices in supermarkets

Obesity is the second most common risk factor for cancers and an increasing problem worldwide. Collaboration between commercial actors and public health advocates in NGOs or the public sector is called for as an important approach to fight obesity. Changes to the food retail environment are highlighted as instrumental for improving population diet and health, but studies on the implementation and effect of such changes are limited.


The National Institute of Public Health has established a partnership with the Danish retail group Salling Group and the NGO the Danish Cancer Society, to investigate how supermarkets can support consumers in making healthier choices.



Study 1 - Pilot study:
We will develop, implement, and evaluate healthy food retail interventions in a supermarket to support families in making healthier choices. We assess the effects of the interventions by comparing sales data on healthy and unhealthy food and total sale between the supermarket and the rest of the chain, as well as before and during the interventions. Through qualitative interviews and in-store observations, we 1) explore influences on parents’ purchase decision making processes while grocery shopping, 2) evaluate the implementation the interventions, and 3) explore the negotiation processes related to intervention development among the partners.


Study 2 - Geographical mapping:
We will identify areas in Denmark with a specific need for healthy retail strategies by investigating geographical variations in food purchase patterns (sales data) and in the prevalence of obesity and cancers related to diet and obesity (survey and register-data).

Study 3 - Natural experiments:

Salling Group are refurbishing their supermarkets towards a healthier store layout. To assess the effects on sales of healthy and unhealthy food items and total sale, we compare sales data from modified stores to sales data from unchanged stores and examine if the effectiveness differs by geographical location.


Project period

2021 - 2024


Collaborations and fund providers

Projectorganisation (SIF)

Senior researcher Rikke Fredenslund Krølner (Principal Investigator), Postdoc Kirstine Wodschow (Project manager), PhD student Katrine Sidenius Duus (Project manager), Professor Annette Kjær Ersbøll, Professor Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Senior researcher Kristine Bihrmann, Postdoc Stine Kloster, Professor Christian Ritz


The project is conducted in a collaboration with the Danish retail group Salling Group and The Danish Cancer Society, Department of Prevention & Information.


The project is funded by The Danish Cancer Society.


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Last Updated 19.10.2023