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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, to investigate how supermarkets can support consumers in making healthier choices.



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).


Pilot study: We will develop, implement, and evaluate healthy food retail strategies in a supermarket to support families in making healthier choices. We assess the effects of the strategies by comparing sales data on healthy and unhealthy food and total sale between the supermarket and a comparison group of supermarkets. 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 strategies, and 3) explore the negotiation processes related to intervention development among the partners.

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



Collaboration and fund providers

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.


Last Updated 22.03.2021