Food prices and food shopping decisions of black women

Katherine I. Disantis, Sonya A. Grier, J. Michael Oakes, Shiriki K. Kumanyika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Identifying food pricing strategies to encourage purchases of lower-calorie food products may be particularly important for black Americans. Black children and adults have higher than average obesity prevalence and disproportionate exposure to food marketing environments in which high calorie foods are readily available and heavily promoted. The main objective of this study was to characterize effects of price on food purchases of black female household shoppers in conjunction with other key decision attributes (calorie content/healthfulness, package size, and convenience). Factorial discrete choice experiments were conducted with 65 low- and middle-/higher-income black women. The within-subject study design assessed responses to hypothetical scenarios for purchasing frozen vegetables, bread, chips, soda, fruit drinks, chicken, and cheese. Linear models were used to estimate the effects of price, calorie level (or healthfulness for bread), package size, and convenience on the propensity to purchase items. Moderating effects of demographic and personal characteristics were assessed. Compared with a price that was 35% lower, the regular price was associated with a lesser propensity to purchase foods in all categories (β = -0.33 to -0.82 points on a 1 to 5 scale). Other attributes, primarily calorie content/healthfulness, were more influential than price for four of seven foods. The moderating variable most often associated with propensity to pay the regular versus lower price was the reported use of nutrition labels. Price reductions alone may increase purchases of certain lower-calorie or more healthful foods by black female shoppers. In other cases, effects may depend on combining price changes with nutrition education or improvements in other valued attributes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to acknowledge that this research was supported by the Aetna Foundation , a national foundation based in Hartford, Connecticut that supports projects to promote wellness, health and access to high quality health care for everyone. The views presented here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Aetna Foundation, its directors, officers, or staff. The Foundation had no role in the conduct of the study, data analysis or interpretation, writing of the article, or decision to submit for publication.


  • African american
  • Food prices
  • Food shopping
  • Obesity


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