• To understand the role of evidence and expert opinion in contributing to food pricing policy development in the remote food supply.
  • To examine the relative cost of food based on current expenditure
  • To propose the most effective food pricing policies for the remote food supply context based on the literature, stakeholder and economic analysis
  • To develop a framework for policy prioritisation guided by local leaders informed by the evidence.

Poor nutrition is linked to the poor health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living in remote communities. Affordability of food is a key driver in food choice. There is mounting evidence for the use of pricing strategies to improve the nutritional quality of foods purchased in remote community stores. 

The range of policies implemented in remote Indigenous communities demonstrates an environment prepared to address the high cost of food and dietary quality. There are no known examples of using a systematic framework to inform policy development, though there are some examples of local expert opinion informing policy development. 

Previous experience demonstrates the need for policy development to engage community leaders for effective policy implementation and outcomes. 

The use of economic evaluation to support decision making is important where many options exist and resources are limited. Policy development frameworks have been successfully used in similar resource limited settings to identify food supply policies for health improvement.

Implications for policy and practice:  

Evidence and a multi-criteria decision framework will be used in a case study approach to determine usefulness in prioritising policy to improve food security and the nutritional quality of food sold in stores.

Chief investigator:
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Project dates:

The project was completed in 2017.

  1. Ferguson, M., O’Dea, K., Holden, S., Miles, E., Brimblecombe, J. (2017) Food and beverage price discounts to improve health in remote Aboriginal communities: mixed method evaluation of a natural experiment. Aust NZ J Public Health. 41:32-7; doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12616.
  2. Ferguson M, King A, Brimblecombe J. (2016). Time for a shift in focus to improve food affordability for remote customers. Medical Journal of Australia, 204 (11): 409.
  3. Ferguson, M., O’Dea, K., Chatfield, M., Moodie, M., Altman, J., & Brimblecombe  J. (2015). The comparative cost of food and beverages at remote Indigenous communities, Northern Territory, Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 40(S1), S21-S26.