Condition category
Nutritional, Metabolic, Endocrine
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status
Results overdue

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Unhealthy eating is the risk factor with the greatest contribution to life years lost in Australia. With supermarkets accounting for the majority of food spending in Australia, marketing techniques in the supermarket environment have the potential to improve the healthiness of consumer food purchases at a population level. However, to date, there is limited evidence of the real world feasibility and impact of interventions designed to create supermarket environments that encourage healthy food purchases. A partnership between IGA, the City of Greater Bendigo, Deakin University and VicHealth was formed to test a range of low-cost, scalable changes to supermarket store environments aimed to increase healthy purchasing.

Who can participate?
IGA stores involved in a collaborative marketing group, based in Bendigo Victoria.

What does the study involve?
Participating stores are randomly allocated to one of two groups. Stores in the first group continue as normal for the duration of the study. Stores in the second group receive a range of interventions, including shelf tags promoting the healthiest product store-wide, trolley and basket signage to promote healthy eating, promoting healthier options at the end-of-aisle shelf/checkout counters, and local and in-store promotion (e.g. posters in-store, letter box drops of brochures in the local community). The research team monitors the in-store interventions and promotions on a weekly basis, with minimum disruption to the customers.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participating stores will receive the healthy food promotional items (i.e. shelf tags, trolley/basket signs) at no cost and will also receive local community promotion (i.e. letter box drop brochures). Stores will be promoted locally as supermarkets doing something for the health of their customers. The store operation should not be affected and therefore no risks for the participating stores are anticipated.

Where is the study run from?
The study is run by Deakin University and takes place in 11 IGA stores based in Bendigo Victoria (Australia)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
December 2016 to March 2018

Who is funding the study?
National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Adrian Cameron

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Adrian Cameron


Contact details

Deakin University
Global Obesity Centre
221 Burwood Hwy

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

A multi-component supermarket intervention to promote healthy eating


Study hypothesis

1. A co-developed package of low-cost and scalable interventions in the supermarket environment will lead to short and longer-term improvements in the healthiness of consumer food purchases, with no decrease in retailer profits
2. This multi-component intervention will be cost-effective from a societal perspective.

Ethics approval

Deakin University Human Ethics Advisory Group, Faculty of Health, 15/12/2015 , ref: #HEAG-H 65_2015
Amendments approved 16/05/2016 and 09/01/2017.

Study design

Randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

As the trial is at the level of the supermarket, and does not include individual participants, a patient/participant information sheet is not available. Please use the contact details below to request more information on the impact of the trial on participants/customers.


Population Diet


This is a randomized controlled trial in 11 IGA supermarkets in Victoria, Australia, with 5 stores randomised to intervention and 6 to control. The primary aim of the trial is to test the effect on the healthiness of consumer food purchases of a low-cost and scalable multi-component intervention in the supermarket setting. The financial impact of this intervention on the retailer, and the potential cost-effectiveness of the intervention as a nutrition promotion and obesity prevention strategy in Australia will also both be evaluated.

To ensure comparability of intervention and control stores, the stores will be stratified according to socio-demographic characteristics of the community. Disadvantage will be assessed at the suburb level using the Australian Bureau of Statistics socio-economic index for Australia. Of the 11 stores, two are in the top decile (least disadvantaged), two in the lowest decile, and seven in the 5th or 6th deciles.

Randomisation within stratified groups of stores will be conducted by the study statistician, CI Orellana, using computer-generated random numbers.

Baseline sales data will be (retrospectively) collected between May 2016 and May 2017.
The intervention period for the study is between 12th May 2017 (launch date) and March 1st, 2018.
Data collection (sales data) will continue during 2018 to assess the longer-term impact of the interventions, albeit without control stores during this time.

The intervention stores will receive a range of interventions. All stores will install shelf tags promoting the healthiest product store-wide (identified as those with a 4.5 or 5 star rating on the Australian Health Star Rating scheme), and both trolley and basket signage to promote healthy eating. Local promotion for all intervention stores will involve letter box drops of brochures in the local community. Individual stores will also implement additional components, selected from the following based on specific store logistics and constraints: a) the promotion of a dedicated healthier end-of-aisle shelf/checkout counters, b) in-store promotion (e.g. posters in-store), c) promotion on store-specific social media, d) installation of floor decals promoting healthy eating, e) branded island bins near registers containing healthier products, f) shelf tags highlighting specific healthier alternatives or complementary products, g) staff training, h) laminated sheets to help identify healthier catalogue options at store end-plan meetings (meetings where store and department managers select what products to place on end-of-aisle and island bin displays). A public launch of the project will be conducted in May 2017, promoting the intervention only in those stores allocated to receive the intervention.

Control stores will not receive any specific intervention during the main intervention period (May 2017 to February 2018). Since it is important to the retailer and local government partners that each community eventually receives the intervention, it will be implemented in all stores at the conclusion of the trial.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Store sales of healthy (‘core’) and less healthy ('discretionary') foods is assessed using store sales data is aggregated weekly per store and per department (e.g. grocery, dairy, bakery) is assessed by reviewing sales data collected during the the baseline period (12 months prior to the intervention period), intervention period (May 2017 to end Feb 2018) and the post-intervention period (2018).

Secondary outcome measures

1. Mean change between the baseline and intervention periods in sales of packaged foods according to their health star rating (measured both as a dichotomous ≥4.5 vs. <4.5 star rating, as well as a continuous measure) will be assessed using store sales data obtained at the completion of the intervention period (Feb/March 2018)
2. Mean change between the baseline and intervention periods in sales of fresh fruit and vegetables is measured using store sales data of all fresh fruit and vegetables assessed using store sales data obtained at the completion of the intervention period (Feb/March 2018)
3. The nutrient value of all products sold will be obtained by matching the products in the sales database to either the database obtained from the FoodSwitch app (The George Institute), or the AusNut database. Mean change between the baseline and intervention periods in key nutrients, including total energy (kj), fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, fibre, protein and carbohydrate content will be assessed
5. Mean change between the baseline and intervention periods in profit will be measured using the cost and retail price of all food sold, using store sales data

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

IGA stores involved in a collaborative marketing group, based in Bendigo Victoria.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

11 supermarkets in regional Victoria

Participant exclusion criteria

Stores not willing to participate.

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Deakin University
221 Burwood Hwy

Sponsor information


National Health and Medical Research Council

Sponsor details

GHD Building Level 1
16 Marcus Clarke Street
+61 2 6217 9000

Sponsor type

Research council



Funder type

Research council

Funder name

National Health and Medical Research Council

Alternative name(s)


Funding Body Type

government organisation

Funding Body Subtype

National government



Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The investigator team, which includes Jane Martin, the head of the Obesity Policy Coalition (the peak obesity policy advocacy organisation in Australia) will ensure effective translation of findings to researchers, advocates and policy makers both nationally and internationally. The research translation strategy incorporates publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals in 2019.

IPD Sharing plan:
The participant level data, which is the stores sales data in our case, is commercial in confidence and will therefore not be made available. The data will be password protected and kept on a secure server at Deakin University assessed only by the research team for data analysis purposes.

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Not expected to be available

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

19/06/2020: The intention to publish date has been changed from 31/12/2019 to 31/12/2020. 05/04/2019: The following changes were made to the trial record: 1. The recruitment start date was changed from 01/05/2017 to 12/05/2017 2. The recruitment end date was changed from 01/05/2018 to 12/05/2018 3. The trial website was added