Secular trends and customer characteristics of sweetened beverage and water purchasing at US convenience and other small food stores, 2014–2017

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Background: Cardiovascular health is linked to sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages (SSBs and ASBs). Prior studies document declines in SSB purchases. However, it is unclear if similar trends exist at convenience and other small food outlets, which often serve lower-income communities and where objective point-of-sales data are difficult to obtain. We examined trends (2014–2017) in observed SSB, ASB, and water purchases at convenience and other small stores as well as differences in purchasing by customer characteristics. Methods: We used observational purchase data collected annually (2014–2017) from 3010 adult customers at 147 randomly-sampled stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul, USA. SSB sub-types included any ready-to-drink sweetened soda, fruit, sport, energy, tea, or other drink, and ASBs included artificially-sweetened versions. Unsweetened water included ready-to-drink water. Mixed regression models examined trends over time and associations with customer characteristics, accounting for customers nested within stores and stores repeatedly measured over time. Results: Nearly 50% of purchases included an SSB. Approximately 10% included an ASB. There was no evidence of change over time in SSB or ASB purchasing. Customer purchasing of unsweetened water significantly increased over time (5.7 to 8.4%; P for trend = 0.05). SSB purchasing was highest among men, young adults, customers with lower education/ income, and customers that shopped frequently. ASB purchasing was highest among women, those 40–59 years, non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, and customers with higher education/ income. Conclusions: Despite research suggesting previous declines in SSB consumption and purchasing in the US, we identified a persistent, high trend of SSB purchasing overtime at convenience and other small food stores. Consumption of SSBs and water are growing targets for public policy and health campaigns. Results demonstrate additional work is needed curb sweetened beverage purchasing and promote water purchasing at convenience and other small food stores, which are often prevalent in low-income and marginalized communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DK104348 (PI: M. Laska); the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5U48DP005022 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PI: M. Laska). The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) supported data management under Award Number UL1TR000114. Further support was provided to MW and KL by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under Award Number K99HL144824 (PI: M. Winkler). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Funding agencies had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Convenience stores
  • Corner stores
  • Customer purchases
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Trend analyses
  • Water purchasing
  • Water
  • Humans
  • Commerce
  • Male
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Young Adult
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Female
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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