Oral Presentation ANZOS Annual Scientific Meeting 2021

Strengthening evidence-informed healthy store policy in remote Indigenous Australia (#62)

Megan Ferguson 1 , Catherine Mah 2 , Anne Marie Thow 3 , Melinda Hammond 4 , Emma McMahon 5 , Anna Peeters 6 , Julie Brimblecombe 7
  1. The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QUEENSLAND, Australia
  2. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  3. The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  5. Menzies School of Health Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  6. Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  7. Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Background: Retail environments can be optimised to support healthier food purchasing. Evidence for the use of merchandising techniques targeting product, placement, promotion and price to create health-enabling environments is rapidly emerging. In addition to achieving commercial outcomes, store owners and retailers operating in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community stores are increasingly interested in adopting health-promoting merchandising techniques into their store nutrition policies and have highlighted that a better understanding of what is most effective would assist in informing store policy.

Methods: A participatory policy priority-setting exercise was conducted with 30 Northern Territory and North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander store owners, retailers, health and government personnel and researchers.

Results: A series of Policy Actions have been co-designed using evidence from research, store sales, and store owners and retailers. A range of strategies to maximise the acceptability and feasibility of these actions in stores has been informed by evidence from store owners and retailers. The series includes best practice for: i) Product, Placement & Promotion of Healthy Foods & Drinks, ii) Product, Placement & Promotion of Unhealthy Foods & Drinks, and iii) Price & Price Promotion on Foods & Drinks. It is aimed to be used by store owners and retailers, and those who support them, to consider in developing and revising their own store nutrition policy.

Conclusions: Co-design with retailers and other experts can result in evidence-informed policies that aim to shape the food environment and positively impact on the nutritional quality of food purchased in remote community stores, whilst maintaining sustainable businesses. This method is highly relevant to global populations in defining approaches to creating evidence-informed local food policies.