New Study Shows Healthy Food Rebates Positively Impact Shopping Behavior

RAND Corporation and Vitality research finds discount leads to increased purchases of healthy foods and decrease in junk foods

About Discovery Holdings

Discovery Holdings (JSE: DSY) is an authorized financial services provider. Discovery operates in the healthcare and life insurance markets in South Africa, the United Kingdom and China, as well as the long-term savings and investment market, and short-term insurance market in South Africa. Vitality, Discovery’s wellness program, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution. It provides individual and corporate wellness initiatives in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and China. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds 4 million lives. The company’s core purpose is to make people healthier, and to enhance and protect their lives.

About The Vitality Group

The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Holdings Limited. Vitality wellness programs serve more than 4 million members worldwide at companies in a wide range of sizes and industry categories, improving individuals’ health and wellbeing as well as employers’ bottom lines. With a foundation based on actuarial science and behavioral economic theory, Vitality encourages changes in lifestyle that reduce healthcare costs, both in the short run and long term, by rewarding members for addressing their specific health issues.


CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that rebates on healthy food purchases cause people to put healthier food in their grocery carts. Led by the nonprofit research organization the RAND Corporation, the analysis examined the purchases of more than 170,000 South African households, of which 60 percent participated in Discovery Vitality’ s HealthyFood program and were eligible for a cash-back rebate of up to 25 percent for healthy food purchases.

The study found that program participation led to an increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods and less spending on high sugar, salty and fried foods, processed meats and fast food. According to the research, a rebate of 25 percent increased the ratio of healthy to total food purchased by 9.3 percent, increased the ratio of fruit and vegetables to total food purchases by 8.5 percent, and decreased the ratio of less-desirable food to total food purchases by 7.2 percent.

“This paper provides good evidence that lower prices for healthier foods significantly alter purchasing patterns,” said Roland Sturm, a study co-author and a senior economist at RAND.

Discovery Holding’s incentive-based wellness program, Vitality, is offered to nearly 4 million consumers worldwide. The Vitality Group, based in Chicago, provides Vitality as a standalone program in the U.S. Vitality is offered in South Africa and the U.K. through Discovery’s health insurance subsidiaries, Discovery Health and PruHealth.

“While the research results show that diets can be shifted through the use of incentives, this is only one component of Vitality’s program and our efforts to focus on health promotion and workplace wellness,” said Derek Yach, Senior Vice President, The Vitality Group. “By leveraging the latest in behavioral economics, clinical and actuarial science, we are working to develop innovative programs to help people make healthy choices to reduce the impact and costs of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes for individuals and organizations.”

Vitality is a comprehensive health and wellness solution that educates, assists, and motivates individuals to engage in a broad set of verified activities with proven outcomes. The program employs sophisticated behavior change models supported by an actuarially-sound incentive program to achieve meaningful and measureable health improvement.


SOURCE The Vitality Group


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