Nutrition education in supermarkets: An unsuccessful attempt to influence knowledge and product sales

Robert W Jeffery, Phyllis L. Pirie, Barbara S. Rosenthal, Wendy M. Gerber, David M. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Although much evidence links dietary patterns with coronary heart disease, effective and economical methods for inducing dietary change in nonclinical populations are needed to influence public health. This study was designed as a preliminary investigation of the feasibility of conducting effective nutrition education campaigns in supermarket settings. Eight supermarkets from a supermarket chain in the Twin Cities area participated. Four were assigned to an experimental condition in which educational materials consisting of posters, recipes, and brochures were placed in the dairy section during a 6-month period. Four other stores were assigned to a control condition and received no educational materials. Shoppers in experimental and control stores completed a nutrition survey pre- and post-intervention. In addition, sales data for 25 dairy products were collected during a 10-month period. A significant increase in knowledge on the nutrition survey between pre- and posttests occurred among shoppers in all stores. There was no significant knowledge or product sales effect due to the education campaign. Study results suggest that, overall, shopper knowledge of food selections for cardiovascular disease risk reduction is high and improving. Unfortunately, knowledge is often not reflected in food purchase patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1982


  • cardiovascular risk reduction
  • nutrition education
  • supermarket


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