Content Analysis of Online Grocery Retail Policies and Practices Affecting Access to Healthy Foods


This article was originally published here

J Nutr Educ Behav. December 14, 2021: S1499-4046 (21) 00812-5. doi: 10.1016 / j.jneb.2021.09.006. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To describe the policies and practices of online grocery retailers that may affect access to healthy foods, including retailers participating in the Ministry of Health Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program Online Shopping Pilot Program. ‘Agriculture of the United States.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional and quantitative analysis of the content of 21 online grocery retail websites from November 2019 to January 2020.

KEY OUTCOME MEASURES: Data collected using a coding instrument capturing the presence of policies and practices related to (1) online shopping and access to delivery; (2) the availability of functionalities allowing price comparisons and providing nutritional information; and (3) data confidentiality.

ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics of features, practices and policies on online grocery retail websites.

RESULTS: Most retailers (95%) added fees to online orders. Among pilot retailers, 38% added a fee ≥ 3 and 50% required a minimum order of more than $ 15. Few retailers (29%) displayed Nutrition Facts labels on all products, including 50% of pilot retailers. All retailers collected personal information from buyers and automatically shared data with affiliates.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: High fees, limited access to nutrition information on retailer sites, and lack of data privacy are prevalent in online grocery retail settings, including among pilot purchasing retailers in line. Online retail practices can perpetuate disparities in access to healthy foods by discouraging use through fees and making it difficult to choose nutritious foods.

PMID: 34920967 | DOI: 10.1016 / j.jneb.2021.09.006

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Jenny T. Curlee