Background: Food retail settings, where we consume and purchase food, have been identified as a leverage point to improve population diets. Government action to create healthier food retail environments in Australia has been limited to specific settings, and unhealthy options still dominate many retail settings1. Understanding how governments currently regulate and govern food retail spaces, will give essential insights into how healthy food retail could be incentivised and regulated.
Aim: To identify how the Victorian government currently regulates food retail businesses, in order to recommend feasible approaches to incentivising healthy food retail.
Methods: Recommended approaches to creating healthy food retail settings were identified through a search of academic and grey literature and used to build a framework for policy analysis. Victorian government health and business documents were searched to identify 1) current healthy food retail policies and 2) business regulatory/compliance requirements and guidelines related to food retail outlets. Documents were summarised and assessed against the policy framework.
Results: The policy analysis framework was comprised of eight different types of healthy food retail initiatives. Health documents (n=6) included nutrition policy guidelines for specific settings. Six business documents encompassed guidelines for fitting out retail premises, food safety requirements, health and wellbeing plans, strategic plans, and environmental safety guides.
Discussion: Current healthy food retail policies centre around healthy guidelines in health services, schools and other public institutions. Within identified business documents, there were several references to health. Food retail is strongly governed by food safety requirements, while health and wellbeing plans frequently mention chronic disease prevention.
Conclusion: The Victorian government currently regulates and recommends the promotion of health within retail outlets, demonstrating the potential for nutrition requirements to be incorporated with the goals of creating health-enabling food retail environments.