Posted 03/11/21 1 mins read

Pricing to encourage healthy choices

chicken and salad sandwich

The price of food and drinks has significant influence on what people decide to eat – ‘pricing interventions’ are a way of directing people toward healthier options.

“Research has found that just a 10% price increase on unhealthy items and a 10% price decrease on healthy items can result in healthier purchases”*

A study run across several YMCA aquatic and recreation centres in 2020 piloted the effectiveness and acceptability of pricing interventions in their onsite cafes.

The intervention:

  • GREEN foods – prices reduced by 8.9%
  • RED foods – prices increased by 10.5%

The results:

  • significant decrease in sales of unhealthy items – 86% decrease in the final week of the study
  • no perceived impact on sales overall – in fact managers chose to maintain the price changes after the study finished
  • staff found the changes easy to implement
  • happy, satisfied customers supported the changes

Want more info?


*Reference: Huse O, Orellana L, Ferguson M, Palermo C, Jerebine A, Zorbas C, Boelsen-Robinson T, Blake MR, Peeters A, Brimblecombe J, Moodie M, Backholer K. 2020. Retailer-led healthy pricing interventions: a pilot study within Victorian aquatic and recreation centres. Health Promotion International. In press.

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