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The importance of product reformulation versus consumer choice in improving diet quality

Author

Listed:
  • Rachel Griffith

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS and Manchester)

  • Martin O'Connell

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Kate Smith

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

Improving diet quality has been a major target of public health policy. Governments have encouraged consumers to make healthier food choices and fi rms to reformulate food products. Evaluation of such policies has focused on the impact on consumer behaviour; firm behaviour has been less well studied. We study the recent decline in dietary salt intake in the UK, and show that it was entirely attributable to product reformulation by fi rms; a contemporaneous information campaign had little impact, consumer switching between products in fact worked in the opposite direction and led to a slight increase in the salt intensity of groceries purchased. These findings point to the important role that fi rms can play in achieving public policy goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2014. "The importance of product reformulation versus consumer choice in improving diet quality," IFS Working Papers W14/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:14/15
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    File URL: https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/wp201415.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 34. Notable Women researchers on Economics
      by Euro American Association EAAEDS in Euro-American Association: World Development on 2018-10-09 19:52:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges & Zang, Yu, 2016. "Quality standards versus nutritional taxes: Health and welfare impacts with strategic firms," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 268-285.
    2. Daniel Herrera‐Araujo, 2016. "Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1104-1122, September.

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