Development and pilot of a tool to measure the healthiness of the in-store food environment

Rachael Jaenke, Christel Van Den Boogaard, Emma McMahon, Julie Brimblecombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: To rigorously develop a tool which enables rapid yet comprehensive appraisal of the consumer food retail environment and provision of real-time feedback to store managers and owners, based on the ‘4Ps’ principles of marketing.

Design: Multi-stage iterative approach including (1) Systematic literature review; (2) Stakeholder consultation; (3) Assessment of existing tools against identified needs; (4) Tool development; (5) Pilot testing and (6) Transition of tool to mobile application (the Store Scout app).

Setting: Northern Territory, Australia.

Participants: Nine remote Aboriginal community food stores; public health nutritionists, retailers, store board directors, Aboriginal community members, government representatives.

Results: Forty-seven existing tools and thirty-four stakeholder interviews informed the development of the current instrument, which comprised: (1) seven product categories (Fruit & Vegetables, Drinks, Snack Foods, Meals & Convenience Foods, Meat & Seafood, Dairy & Eggs, Breads & Cereals) across the ‘4Ps’ (Product, Placement, Price, Promotion); (2) Store manager questions about context and perceived importance of key principles about the store environment and (3) a scoring and feedback component. The tool was considered feasible and acceptable by all testers.

Conclusions: The developed tool addresses an unmet need to measure the consumer food retail environment across all 4Ps whilst also incorporating manager perspectives and immediate feedback. Our objectives of developing a comprehensive, feasible and acceptable instrument were achieved during pilot testing. The tool will support implementation of best practice within stores to encourage healthy food choices and has potential for broad application in retail settings locally and internationally, as well as for research purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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