BECR Briefs and Tools

What’s in it for Retailers? Establishing Partnerships with Food Retailers to Conduct Healthy Food Choice Research by Molly De Marco, Leah Chapman, and Nasir Siddique

Food retailers can and should be seen as vital partners as we work to improve nutrition. This brief provides insights and strategies for establishing research partnerships with food retailers. This brief represents accumulated insights from researchers working with the following programs and projects: SNAP-Ed, BECR, NC Growing Together, and the RNECE-South, who have conducted healthy food retail interventions for 5 years with over 20 different corporate and family-owned retailers.


Uses of Behavioral Economics Nudges within Healthy Retail Interventions in the SNAP-Ed Program: Research Opportunities by Daniella Uslan, Jessica Soldavini, Molly De MarcoTerry Hartman, and Alice Ammerman.

In collaboration with the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the BECR Center drafted a brief to discuss the potential research opportunities for using behavioral economics strategies within the SNAP-Ed Program.  This brief highlights text from the 2017 SNAP Education Plan Guidance.


Choosing Foods and Beverages to Promote in Healthy Retail Research by Terry Hartman, Molly De Marco, Megan Lott, Jessica Soldavini, Madelaine Katz,  Alice Ammerman, and Mary Story.

Purchasing a healthy mix of food items is a key step toward improving diet and health. Researchers are increasingly focusing on this step, investigating strategies to promote healthy food purchasing. However, in a retail setting that encompasses thousands of items, choosing products to promote that are most likely to have a positive impact on consumers’ diets may require consideration. The purpose of this brief is to provide behavioral researchers with a quick reference to help determine which types of products to promote.


Behavioral Economics in the Healthy Retail Environment: Working Within the SNAP-Ed Context by Alice AmmermanMolly De Marco, and Daniella Uslan

The Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence (RNECE) Southern Region at UNC- Chapel Hill recently presented a webinar on behavioral economics within the SNAP-Ed context.  The field of Behavioral Economics provides valuable insight in understanding people’s behaviors and decision-making processes. This webinar will introduce key concepts from Behavioral Economics and discuss how SNAP-Ed agencies can leverage these concepts to “nudge” consumers to make healthier food choices in a retail setting.

Materials: Slide deck /  Recording


Buying Wisely and Well: Managing WIC Food Costs While Improving the WIC Customer’s Shopping Experience by Alice AmmermanMolly De MarcoMatthew HardingTerry Hartman, and Jewels Rhode
In July 2015, the BECR Center hosted a roundtable to discuss exploratory and innovative behavioral economics strategies that might be useful in helping the WIC Program manage food costs without adversely impacting participant redemptions, program satisfaction, and participation. This brief provides a summary of the discussion that took place during the meeting, based on five white papers funded by the BECR Center as well as the accompanying discussion.


Review of the Literature on Use of Behavioral Economic Nudges in Farmers’ Markets and More Traditional Retail Settings by Hannah Pettus, a master’s student from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Behavioral Economic nudges offer a range of techniques for influencing food-choice related behaviors in retail settings, including convenience stores, grocery stores and farmers’ markets. We summarize the research to date that has used behavioral economic techniques to nudge consumers to make healthier choices in places where we shop for food.