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INTRODUCTION: Poor diet is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases and costs the National Health Service £5.8 billion annually. Product placement strategies used extensively in food outlets, like supermarkets, can influence customers' preferences. Policy-makers, including the UK Government, are considering legislation to ensure placement strategies promote healthier food purchasing and dietary habits. High-quality scientific evidence is needed to inform future policy action. This study will assess whether healthier placement strategies in supermarkets improve household purchasing patterns and the diets of more than one household member. METHODS AND ANALYSES: This natural experiment, with a prospective matched controlled cluster design, is set in discount supermarkets across England. The primary objective is to investigate whether enhanced placement of fresh fruit and vegetables improves household-level purchasing of these products after 6 months. Secondary objectives will examine: (1) differences in intervention effects on purchasing by level of educational attainment, (2) intervention effects on the dietary quality of women and their young children, (3) intervention effects on store-level sales of fruit and vegetables and (4) cost-effectiveness of the intervention from individual, retailer and societal perspectives. Up to 810 intervention and 810 control participants will be recruited from 18 intervention and 18 matched control stores. Eligible participants will be women aged 18-45 years, who hold a loyalty card and shop in a study store. Each control store will be matched to an intervention store on: (1) sales profile, (2) neighbourhood deprivation and (3) customer profile. A detailed process evaluation will assess intervention implementation, mechanisms of impact and, social and environmental contexts. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee (ID 20986.A5). Primary, secondary and process evaluation results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and shared with policy-makers. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03573973; Pre-results.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





health economics, nutrition & dietetics, preventive medicine, public health