Improving the healthiness of the foods in Australian supermarkets

Years funded:
2017 - 2021

The overall aim of Dr Helen Trevena’s research is to better understand how supermarkets can use their power to increase the availability, affordability and acceptability of healthier food in a supermarket. 

Dr Trevena plans on undertaking two studies to achieve this aim: 

1. To evaluate the evidence for the effect of supermarket private standards on the food supply. 
2. To consider whether providing nutritional data to a supermarket can change the healthiness of their food own brand or ‘private-label’ products. 

The results will fill an evidence gap and inform Australian policies to enhance the nutritional quality of packaged foods. Increasing the nutritional quality of packaged foods by reducing the levels of salt, sugar and fat in these foods is a critical step in reducing preventable diet-related disease of which coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure are the most common types of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Given that 1 in 5 Australian adults had CVD in 2011; reducing the levels of salt, sugar and fat in commonly eaten packaged foods is one way of improving cardiovascular health for many people. 

The actions of a very small number of supermarkets to lower added salt, fats and sugars in their packaged foods will be of tremendous long-term benefit to the millions of Australians who shop at supermarkets every day. 
Reducing the level of salt, fat and sugar in packaged foods is paramount to benefiting cardiovascular health outcomes in Australia.

Researcher Profile

Dr Helen Trevena

Institute: University of Sydney
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