Academics in the aisles: Establishing a university-supermarket partnership

Brandy-Joe Milliron, Kathleen Woolf, Barbara Ruhs, Bradley M. Appelhans


The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US is a serious public health problem. Supermarkets in the US are responding to the obesity epidemic by providing the unique asset of food, pharmacy and registered dietitians in one location to help grocery shoppers manage diseases and improve nutrition. Recent studies report that supermarket point-of-purchase interventions focusing on improving healthy food purchasing behaviours are feasible and potentially efficacious. We describe our experiences and lessons learned while developing a university-supermarket partnership and pilot testing a supermarket POP intervention (Healthstyles-Eat Smart©) prior to its dissemination throughout the region. Barriers to and facilitators of developing university-supermarket partnerships and strategies to increase the feasibility of supermarket POP research are discussed. We conclude that strong university-supermarket partnerships are essential to conducting supermarket intervention research and are worth the time and effort it takes to build them.

Keywords: Fruit and vegetable purchases, point-of-purchase intervention, supermarket partnership, shopping behaviour

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