Retailer-led healthy pricing interventions: A pilot study within aquatic and recreation centres in Victoria, Australia

Oliver Huse, Liliana Orellana, Megan Ferguson, Claire Palermo, Alethea Jerebine, Christina Zorbas, Tara Boelsen-Robinson, Miranda R. Blake, Anna Peeters, Julie Brimblecombe, Marj Moodie, Kathryn Backholer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to pilot the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of three co-developed healthy food and beverage pricing interventions in a community retail setting. Aquatic and recreation centres in Victoria, Australia were recruited to co-develop and pilot pricing interventions within their onsite cafés, for 15 weeks from January 2019. A mixed method intervention evaluation was conducted. Interviews were conducted with food retail managers to understand the factors perceived to influence implementation, maintenance and effectiveness. Customer surveys assessed support for, and awareness of, interventions. Interrupted time series analysis estimated the impact of pricing interventions on food and beverage sales. Three centres each implemented a unique intervention: (i) discounted healthy bundles ('healthy combination deals'), (ii) offering deals at specific times of the day ('healthy happy hours') and (iii) increasing the prices of selected unhealthy options and reducing the prices of selected healthier options ('everyday pricing changes'). Café team leaders did not identify any significant challenges to implementation or maintenance of interventions, though low staff engagement was identified as potentially influencing the null effect on sales for healthy combination deals and healthy happy hours interventions. Customers reported low levels of awareness and high levels of support for interventions. Everyday pricing changes resulted in a significant decrease in sales of unhealthy items during the intervention period, though also resulted in a decrease in café revenue. Co-developed healthy food and beverage pricing interventions can be readily implemented with broad customer support. Everyday pricing changes have demonstrated potential effectiveness at reducing unhealthy purchases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-448
Number of pages19
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number2
Early online date23 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


This work was supported by a Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) innovation grant (Grant No. 00032151). K.B. is supported by a National Heart Foundation of Australia Future Leader Fellowship (Grant No. 102047).


  • community retail
  • healthy food and beverage pricing interventions
  • nutrition
  • program evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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