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Pricing Strategies to Encourage Availability, Purchase, and Consumption of Healthy Foods and Beverages: A Systematic Review


A flow diagram describes how the 30 studies that met eligibility criteria were identified for inclusion in the systematic review. Eligibility criteria for the study were 1) published from 2000 through 2016; 2) conducted in humans; 3) published in English; 4) published in a peer-reviewed journal; 5) experimental design; 6) population study in high-income or middle-income country; 7) pricing intervention study; 8) excluded vending machine or online sales; 9) assessed consumer and retail sales outcomes; and 10) did not evaluate government programs in schools. Searches of MEDLINE (n = 256), Cochrane (n = 584), Embase (n = 163), PsycINFO (n = 775), ClinicalTrials.gov (n = 61), and Web of Science (n = 237) databases yielded 2,076 articles. We identified 1,754 articles after a refined search by year, language, and species (MEDLINE, n = 177; Cochrane, n = 343; Embase, n = 163; PsycINFO, n = 775; ClinicalTrials.gov, n = 61; and Web of Science, n = 235. Of these, 77 were duplicates, that is, described the same study, and were excluded, leaving 1,677. We excluded 1,347 because they dealt with eating disorders, vaccine, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, pharmacy, cognition, or because they were a review article, leaving 330 articles. We assessed abstracts of the 330 for eligibility and excluded 278: 172 because they did not answer the research question, 9 because they employed a cross-sectional design, 5 because they were qualitative research articles, 31 because they presented results from taxes or price simulation models, 1 because it was a methods article, 15 because they were review articles, 5 because they presented only pricing or price elasticity information, 2 because they described pricing interventions at vending machines, and 38 because they did not describe interventions at the retailer or consumer level. We assessed 52 full articles describing experimental design studies (n = 41), mixed methods studies (n = 1), and natural experiment studies (n = 10) and excluded 27 because they did not describe a pricing intervention (n = 5), did not come from a peer-reviewed journal (n = 1), described vending machine sales (n = 2), did not have intention to purchase as an outcome (n = 2), dealt with a government program in school (n = 3), or described laboratory-based studies (n = 14). This yielded 25 studies, to which we added 5 that we found through searches of reference lists (experimental design, n = 24; mixed methods, n = 3; and natural experiment, n = 3) for a total of 30 studies (from 65 articles) included in the review.

Selection process, systematic review of pricing strategies to encourage purchasing and consumption of healthy foods and beverages, 2000–2016.

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Page last reviewed: November 2, 2017