The Impact of Voluntary Policies on Parents' Ability to Select Healthy Foods in Supermarkets: A Qualitative Study of Australian Parental Views

Claire Elizabeth Pulker, Denise Chew Ching Li, Jane Anne Scott, Christina Mary Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Food packaging is used for marketing purposes, providing consumers with information about product attributes at the point-of-sale and thus influencing food choice. The Australian government focuses on voluntary policies to address inappropriate food marketing, including the Health Star Rating nutrition label. This research explored the way marketing via packaging information influences Australian parents' ability to select healthy foods for their children, and who parents believe should be responsible for helping them. Five 90-min focus groups were conducted by an experienced facilitator in Perth, Western Australia. Four fathers and 33 mothers of children aged 2-8 years participated. Group discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim and inductive thematic content analysis conducted using NVivo11. Seven themes were derived: (1) pressure of meeting multiple demands; (2) desire to speed up shopping; (3) feeding them well versus keeping them happy; (4) lack of certainty in packaging information; (5) government is trusted and should take charge; (6) food manufacturers' health messages are not trusted; (7) supermarkets should assist parents to select healthy foods. Food packaging information appears to be contributing to parents' uncertainty regarding healthy food choices. Supermarkets could respond to parents' trust in them by implementing structural policies, providing shopping environments that support and encourage healthy food choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3377
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes

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