The Importance of Product Reformulation versus Consumer Choice in Improving Diet Quality

20 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2016

See all articles by Rachel Griffith

Rachel Griffith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University of Manchester; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University College London

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Griffith, Rachel and O'Connell, Martin and Smith, Kate, The Importance of Product Reformulation versus Consumer Choice in Improving Diet Quality (January 2017). Economica, Vol. 84, Issue 333, pp. 34-53, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecca.12192

Rachel Griffith (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7291 4800 (Phone)
+44 20 7323 4780 (Fax)

University of Manchester ( email )

Arthur Lewis Building
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifs.org.uk/people/profile?id=37

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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