A supermarket is better than a supermarket if it has lots of food and it’s stocked with fresh produce, but it also needs to keep costs low and it doesn’t have as many stores as a supermarket, which may lead you to think that the supermarket is always going to be better for your health.
But is there really a link between the quality of a supermarket and the quality you get at home?
To find out, researchers from the University of Bath and the University’s College of Engineering analysed data from nearly 100 supermarkets in the UK and compared their results with data from grocery stores in the United States.
“It’s important to understand the impact of the supermarket on our diet because the food we eat affects how we feel and how our health is,” said lead author Dr Daniel Green, a research associate in the School of Chemistry and a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
“We were interested in the effects of different types of food on people’s health.”
Our findings show that there’s a link, but the impact depends on the store.
“The grocery store is the most healthy, but when we looked at a supermarket’s quality, it was much less healthy than it was when we studied a grocery.”
The researchers found that supermarket quality increased with age, with younger people reporting higher levels of physical activity, more frequent shopping and healthier eating habits.
“But we found that the quality wasn’t linked to the level of physical exercise people did,” Dr Green said.
“This suggests that it’s not just the food that makes people feel good, but how well they’re able to perform the tasks they’re doing.”
While the research team said it wasn’t clear why, they did note that supermarkets may have more flexibility to offer more healthful choices.
“There are certainly a lot of supermarket chains out there,” Dr Greene said.
“They are very convenient, and they offer a great range of foods.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.