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Poor diet is one of the major contributors to preventable morbidity and premature mortality in the UK. Food and drink purchases from grocery stores are a crucial antecedent of household consumption and interventions which change food purchasing have the potential to encourage healthier food choices at a scale to bring public health benefits. We have recently published a systematic review of interventions to change food purchasing in grocery stores, we have already developed a virtual online supermarket which can be used to conduct early phase testing and we have an ongoing trials with a major retailer.

There are three potential aspects to this project. First to develop methods and tools to monitor the healthfulness of in-store and online grocery stores, to assess current practices and monitor changes over time. Second to develop interventions to encourage healthier food purchases. Finally to conduct a feasibility field trial in real online or physical stores or other food environments.

The project will suit a student with some knowledge of both nutrition and behaviour change and with strong quantitative research skills. It is likely to involve direct collaborations with the food industry.

The student will join the thriving Health Behaviours team in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. We are currently working on range of interventions in primary care and in the community to support people to change their food consumption, including behavioural interventions for weight loss and reductions in saturated fat or salt to reduce cardiovascular risk.