To my astonishment the relation between the exposure of unhealthy snack foods in a supermarket and eating behavior is hardly a topic of research. Read this in a recent study about the relationship between a greater variety of chocolates in supermarket and consumption of chocolates. In this Australian study they used data from 1007 women in 35 neighborhoods with their local supermarkets. They examined the associations between the number of different varieties of chocolate and confectionery items stocked in local supermarkets and consumption of these foods over and above what would be expected based on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
In this study no relationship was found. The variety of these snack food items in local neighborhood supermarkets was not associated with women’s confectionery and chocolate consumption. In this cohort women ate either chocolate or confectionery once a week or less in 75% and 82% cases, only 5% ate chocolate on a daily bases.
This could be true but as the authors state, other factors were not included in their analyses. Important possible other factors for snack eating behaviors could be: shelf space occupied by these snacks, promotion of these products, the relative proportion compared to healthy products, product placement, and the presence at check out.
Since the biased publications on this blog about the healthy influences of dark chocolate the result at first seemed promising but most amazing is the probable lack of research. Will chocolate still stand as not very inviting on supermarket shelf space?
Thornton, L., Cameron, A., Crawford, D., McNaughton, S., & Ball, K. (2011). Is greater variety of chocolates and confectionery in supermarkets associated with more consumption? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35 (3), 292-293 DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00706.x