Food Marketing Migrates Online

This report evaluates the practices of six national retailers operating in the Washington, DC, area: Amazon Prime Now, FreshDirect, Peapod (Ahold Delhaize), Safeway, Target, and Walmart Grocery. (The latter two were not delivering in DC during the early 2019 study period, so weren’t included in the ordering and delivery components of the assessment.) CSPI researchers created two customer accounts and collected promotional data on each retailer’s home page, and promotional, pricing, and search result data on each retailer’s search result pages for five staple products: milk, bread, cereal, drinks, and chicken. The researchers also scored the quality of the produce delivered.

The results showed that more than half of food and beverage promotions on online retailers’ home pages and search result pages were for unhealthy products, and more than three-quarters of the food- and beverage-related emails that retailers sent promoted unhealthy products.

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