The effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on food purchases: evaluation of a natural experiment

Kopasker, D. , Whybrow, S., McKenzie, L., McNamee, P. and Ludbrook, A. (2022) The effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on food purchases: evaluation of a natural experiment. SSM - Population Health, 19, 101174. (doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2022.101174) (PMID:35898560) (PMCID:PMC9310105)

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Background: On the 1st of May 2018 Scotland became the first country to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol sales. The objective of this study is to identify the effects of this policy instrument on food purchasing by evaluating a natural experiment. Methods: Longitudinal analysis compares regions with similar characteristics but differing exposure to MUP (Scotland and the north of England). Secondary data from the Kantar Worldpanel on itemised purchases between April 2017 and April 2019 provided a total sample of 8051 households. The outcomes analysed are weekly household expenditure (£s) and purchase volume (grams), both overall and disaggregated to 16 product categories. Results: Following the introduction of MUP, total household food expenditure in Scotland declined by 1.0%, 95%CI [-1.9%, −0.0%], and total food volume declined by 0.8%, 95%CI [-1.7%, 0.2%] compared to the north of England. There is variation in response between product categories, with less spending on fruit and vegetables and increased spending on crisps and snacks. Conclusion: Minimum unit pricing for alcohol has displaced some household food purchasing and the pattern of changes in food categories appears to be less desirable from a healthy diet perspective. However, changes caused by a minimum price at a nominal 50 pence per unit of alcohol are relatively small.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kopasker, Dr Daniel
Authors: Kopasker, D., Whybrow, S., McKenzie, L., McNamee, P., and Ludbrook, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:SSM - Population Health
ISSN (Online):2352-8273
Published Online:19 July 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in SSM - Population Health 19: 101174
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048230021Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/2HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048230071Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU17HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit