Seminar: Yu Ma, University of Alberta

Friday, April 4, 2014 10:30to12:00
Bronfman Building Room 423, 1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 1G5, CA

The Nutritional Quality of Our Grocery Shopping and the Impact of External Shocks

Yu Ma
University of Alberta

Date: April 4, 2014
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Room 423


The easy availability, low price, and heavy marketing of calorie dense processed foods and sugar-laden beverages are often implicated in rising rates of obesity and obesity-linked diseases. Increasingly, packaged food marketers are confronted with questions about the public health impact of their products. We examine how household members’ personal characteristics and key marketing factors affect the healthfulness of food purchased for at-home consumption. Using a combination of scanner panel data, survey data about health status, and the nutrition content of 13 of the largest packaged food categories, we show that households with higher education and nutrition interest consume fewer calories, sugar, and total carbohydrates, whereas those with higher self-control consume more, because they offset their lower intake of “unhealthy” categories with higher intake of “healthy” categories. We further consider how food intake changes following two external events: one from household members’ change in health status – a diagnosis of diabetes, and the other from the food marketing environment – accessibility of warehouse clubs. We find significant responses to these events, and not all of these responses are good for health. These findings have notable implications for marketers, consumers, and public health professionals.

For more information, please contact Cynthia Wong at: cynthia.wong3 [at] mcgill.ca

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