Increasing the number of Americans eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains and low in fat, salt, and added sugars, is a public health priority. Findings indicate that food choices are influenced by situational factors such as the placement of food in grocery aisles, marketing cues, and whether or not healthy foods are the default option.
The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Healthy Food Incentives (HFI) project explored various concepts from behavioral economic studies to better understand consumer food purchasing behavior, practice-based examples of purchasing patterns and economic incentives, and program evaluations. Goals of this project included: developing a research and evaluation agenda; developing and disseminating recommendations to the field regarding strategies that cue healthier food purchases; and coordinating research and programmatic efforts with those of NCCOR members.
NCCOR developed a series of workshops to bring together researchers, practitioners, government officials, and funders to discuss issues associated with implementation and evaluation. The first workshop, held in May 2014, was an opportunity to explore best practices from practitioners; listen to policy concerns and interests; and hear from federal staff and partners and national associations in the field. The second workshop, held in July 2014 brought together program and policy stakeholders, representatives of the food retail sector, and research leaders to identify feasible, effective behavioral economic strategies. The third workshop, held in September 2014, summarized information gaps identified in the prior workshops and discussed opportunities to bring multiple sectors together to support program practice and research and evaluation in healthy food incentive efforts.
Presentations from the all three workshops are available: