Are price discounts on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) linked to household SSB purchases? – a cross-sectional study in a large US household and retail scanner database

Yichen Zhong, Amy H. Auchincloss, Mark F. Stehr, Brent A. Langellier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Price promotions on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are commonly used by retailers to provide economic incentives for purchasing. Surprisingly, there is a lack of high-quality articles that examine the frequency and magnitude of sugary beverage discounting and consumer responses to discounts. The objective of this study is to quantify the association between exposure to price discounts and SSB purchases. Methods: This cross-sectional study linked 2016 SSB consumption data from a U.S. household consumer panel (analytic sample N = 11,299 households) and weekly prices at stores where they shopped. We derived percent of the time SSBs were discounted (annual promotion frequency) and the amount of the discount (annual promotion magnitude) and assessed their association with household annual per capita SSB purchase ounces. Linear regression models adjusted for household size, income per capita, age, education, presence of children, race, occupation, region, and urbanicity. We also evaluated whether the association between promotion and purchase varied by socioeconomic status and race subgroups. Data were analyzed in 2019–2020. Results: On average, households were exposed to SSBs price promotions 44% of the time. A 10-percentage point increase in annual SSB promotion frequency was associated with 13.7% increase in annual per capita purchasing (P < 0.0001), and a 1-percentage point increase in annual SSB promotion magnitude was associated with 15.3% increase in annual per capita purchasing (P < 0.0001). These associations did no vary significantly across socioeconomic status and race subgroups (Interaction P > 0.2). Conclusions: More frequent and deeper price promotion was associated with higher annual per capita SSB purchases. Restricting SSB price promotions may be effective at reducing SSB consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Marketing
  • Nutrition
  • Price promotion
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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