Effect of a health reminder on consumers’ selection of ultra-processed foods in a supermarket

Alyne M. Botelho, Anice M.de Camargo, Moira Dean, Giovanna M.R. Fiates*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Consumers report difficulties when trying to make healthy food choices in supermarkets due to environmental cues that favour the acquisition of unhealthy food items. This study's objective was to investigate food selection in a supermarket to prepare a last minute meal by consumers with different levels of health consciousness. In an experimental design, 50 high (HHC) and 50 low health conscious (LHC) participants (n = 100) were told to choose all food items to prepare a meal for themselves plus a guest. For half the participants (25 HHC and 25 LHC), the expression ‘healthy meal’ was embedded in the instruction. To evaluate shopping healthfulness, foods selected by the participants were categorized according to level of industrial processing in Unprocessed/Minimally Processed (U/MP); Processed Culinary Ingredient (PCI); Processed (P), or Ultra-Processed (UP). The health reminder positively affected the choices of HHC and LHC individuals. Results indicate that placing reminders of healthy eating in shopping environments where P and UP foods sales are heavily promoted, such as supermarkets, can be a useful tool to promote healthy choices in accordance with what is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalFood quality and preference
Early online date24 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Food choice
  • Food processing
  • Reminder
  • Supermarket
  • Ultra-processed foods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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