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      The use of commercial food purchase data for public health nutrition research: A systematic review

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          Abstract

          Background

          Traditional methods of dietary assessment have their limitations and commercial sources of food sales and purchase data are increasingly suggested as an additional source to measuring diet at the population level. However, the potential uses of food sales data are less well understood. The aim of this review is to establish how sales data on food and soft drink products from third-party companies have been used in public health nutrition research.

          Methods

          A search of five electronic databases was conducted in February-March 2018 for studies published in peer-reviewed journals that had used food sales or purchase data from a commercial company to analyse trends and patterns in food purchases or in the nutritional composition of foods. Study quality was evaluated using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Quality Assessment Tool for Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies.

          Results

          Of 2919 papers identified in the search, 68 were included. The selected studies used sales or purchase data from four companies: Euromonitor, GfK, Kantar and Nielsen. Sales and purchase data have been used to evaluate interventions, including the impact of the saturated fat tax in Denmark, the soft drink and junk food taxes in Mexico and supplemental nutrition programmes in the USA. They have also been used to identify trends in the nutrient composition of foods over time and patterns in food purchasing, including socio-demographic variations in purchasing.

          Conclusion

          Food sales and purchase data are a valuable tool for public health nutrition researchers and their use has increased markedly in the last four years, despite the cost of access, the lack of transparency on data-collection methods and restrictions on publication. The availability of product and brand-level sales data means they are particularly useful for assessing how changes by individual food companies can impact on diet and public health.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Relationship of soft drink consumption to global overweight, obesity, and diabetes: a cross-national analysis of 75 countries.

          We estimated the relationship between soft drink consumption and obesity and diabetes worldwide. We used multivariate linear regression to estimate the association between soft drink consumption and overweight, obesity, and diabetes prevalence in 75 countries, controlling for other foods (cereals, meats, fruits and vegetables, oils, and total calories), income, urbanization, and aging. Data were obtained from the Euromonitor Global Market Information Database, the World Health Organization, and the International Diabetes Federation. Bottled water consumption, which increased with per-capita income in parallel to soft drink consumption, served as a natural control group. Soft drink consumption increased globally from 9.5 gallons per person per year in 1997 to 11.4 gallons in 2010. A 1% rise in soft drink consumption was associated with an additional 4.8 overweight adults per 100 (adjusted B; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.1, 6.5), 2.3 obese adults per 100 (95% CI = 1.1, 3.5), and 0.3 adults with diabetes per 100 (95% CI = 0.1, 0.8). These findings remained robust in low- and middle-income countries. Soft drink consumption is significantly linked to overweight, obesity, and diabetes worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries.
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            Intended and unintended consequences of a proposed national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to combat the U.S. obesity problem.

            Monthly data derived from the Nielsen Homescan Panel for calendar years 1998 through 2003 are used to estimate the effects of a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Most arguments in describing the ramifications of a tax fail to consider demand interrelationships among various beverages. To circumvent this shortcoming we employ a variation of Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (QUAIDS) model. The consumption of isotonics, regular soft drinks and fruit drinks, the set of SSBs, is negatively impacted by the proposed tax, while the consumption of fruit juices, low-fat milk, coffee, and tea is positively affected. Diversion ratios are provided identifying where the volumes of the SSBs are directed as a result of the tax policy. The reduction in the body weight as a result of a 20% tax on SSBs is estimated to be between 1.54 and 2.55 lb per year. However, not considering demand interrelationships would result in higher weight loss. Unequivocally, it is necessary to consider interrelationships among non-alcoholic beverages in assessing the effect of the tax. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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              Impact of targeted beverage taxes on higher- and lower-income households.

              Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes are increasingly being considered as a strategy for addressing the obesity epidemic. We sought to investigate the differential impact of targeted beverage taxes on higher- and lower-income households. This analysis relied on data from the 2006 Nielsen Homescan panel, which included a national sample of households that scan and transmit their store-bought food and beverage purchases weekly for a 12-month period. We assessed associations among beverage prices, energy intake, and weight using multivariate regression models. A 20% and 40% tax on carbonated SSBs only would reduce beverage purchases by a mean (SE) of 4.2 (1.6) and 7.8 (2.8) kcal/d per person, respectively. Extending the tax to all SSBs generates mean (SE) reductions of 7.0 (1.9) and 12.4 (3.4) kcal/d per person, respectively. Estimated mean (SE) weight losses resulting from a 20% and 40% tax on all SSBs are 0.32 (0.09) and 0.59 (0.16) kg/y per person, respectively. The 40% tax on SSBs, which costs a mean (SE) of $28.48 ($0.87) per household per year, would generate $2.5 billion ($77.5 million) in tax revenue, with the largest share coming from high-income households. Large taxes on SSBs have the potential to positively influence weight outcomes, especially for middle-income households. These taxes would also generate substantial revenue that could be used to fund obesity prevention programs or for other causes.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Methodology
                Role: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: MethodologyRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                7 January 2019
                2019
                : 14
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
                [2 ] Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
                McMaster University, CANADA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-18-20802
                10.1371/journal.pone.0210192
                6322827
                30615664
                © 2019 Bandy et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Pages: 19
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000274, British Heart Foundation;
                Award ID: 006/PSS/CORE/2016/OXFORD
                Award Recipient :
                LB is funded by the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. VA and SJ are funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle Theme. SJ is also supported by the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). MR is funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), grant number 006/PSS/CORE/2016/OXFORD. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Food
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Physiology
                Physiological Processes
                Food Consumption
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Physiology
                Physiological Processes
                Food Consumption
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Public and Occupational Health
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Beverages
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Beverages
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Nutrients
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Nutrients
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Biochemistry
                Lipids
                Fats
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Nutrition
                Diet
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                All relevant data are within the paper and its supporting information files.

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