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Women's perceptions of factors influencing their food shopping choices and how supermarkets can support them to make healthier choices

Dhuria, P., Lawrence, W., Crozier, S. , Cooper, C., Baird, J. & Vogel, C. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3897-3786 (2021). Women's perceptions of factors influencing their food shopping choices and how supermarkets can support them to make healthier choices. BMC Public Health, 21(1), article number 1070. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11112-0


OBJECTIVES: To examine women's perceptions of factors that influence their food shopping choices, particularly in relation to store layout, and their views on ways that supermarkets could support healthier choices. DESIGN: This qualitative cross-sectional study used semi-structured telephone interviews to ask participants the reasons for their choice of supermarket and factors in-store that prompted their food selections. The actions supermarkets, governments and customers could take to encourage healthier food choices were explored with women. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify key themes. SETTING: Six supermarkets across England. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty women customers aged 18-45 years. RESULTS: Participants had a median age of 39.5 years (IQR: 35.1, 42.3), a median weekly grocery spend of £70 (IQR: 50, 88), and 44% had left school aged 16 years. Women reported that achieving value for money, feeling hungry, tired, or stressed, and meeting family members' food preferences influenced their food shopping choices. The physical environment was important, including product quality and variety, plus ease of accessing the store or products in-store. Many participants described how they made unintended food selections as a result of prominent placement of unhealthy products in supermarkets, even if they adopted more conscious approaches to food shopping (i.e. written or mental lists). Participants described healthy eating as a personal responsibility, but some stated that governments and supermarkets could be more supportive. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted that in-store environments can undermine intentions to purchase and consume healthy foods. Creating healthier supermarket environments could reduce the burden of personal responsibility for healthy eating, by making healthier choices easier. Future research could explore the interplay of personal, societal and commercial responsibility for food choices and health status.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: Supermarket, Food shopping choices, Women, Qualitative methods
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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