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Welcome + Farewell + Start of a new era! 

This newsletter comes to you as the final delivery from the Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (RE-FRESH). 

Our centre’s five years of National Health and Medical Research Council funding under the RE-FRESH ‘banner’ has officially come to an end although, excitingly, our healthy food retail research will continue under the ‘RE-FRESH: Next Generation’ name (more on that shortly…) For now, I would like to reflect on how proud I am of the incredible team and innovative research they have produced between 2019-2023.

We set out with an ambitious vision: to accelerate the uptake of proven healthy food retail initiatives to improve diet and health at a population level, balancing retailer viability and feasibility with customer needs. We also sought to contribute to the methods for engaging with retailers and evaluating health food retail initiatives, and increase the accountability of those who influence the healthiness of food environments.

I invite you to check out the stats below in the sneak peek from our soon-to-be-released Impact Report,  and read the publications, reports and other resources on our website to see the breadth of the advancements that have been made. It is a credit to all of the team, and couldn’t have been achieved without our integral collaborations with government and non-government organisations, community organisations and food retailers. Our huge thanks and appreciation goes out to all we have partnered with.

Much has been achieved, and there are many more strides to be made. This will be championed by ‘RE-FRESH: Next Generation’, a new five-year NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence that will run until 2028. This ‘next generation’ of work will focus on research to support government policy, the sustainment and scale-up of successful healthy food retail initiatives, and further development of monitoring and accountability mechanisms. It is a pleasure to pass the baton to Deakin University Professor Adrian Cameron as the Director of this new centre.

The next newsletter you receive will come from the RE-FRESH: Next Generation team and you will notice a new ‘look’ and an updated logo.  Between newsletter releases, you can continue to follow our work via our  X (Twitter) account and website (which will remain the same under the RE-FRESH: Next Generation centre).

Together, we will continue to make great change! Thank you to all those who have worked with us and supported us to make this happen over the past five years.

Alfred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters
Signing off as the Director of RE-FRESH (2018-2023)
Current Director Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation, and the Nourish Network

Sneak peek from our Impact Report!

141+ publications
64% with EMCRs as first authors
1600+ citations
388,000+ publication reads
We are incredibly proud of the impact achieved by the team of 60+ researchers who been part of the RE-FRESH research team between 2018-2023, from the following institutions and organisations: Deakin University, Monash University, the University of Queensland, Menzies School of Health Research, The University of Auckland, The George Institute for Global Health, Food For Health Alliance (formerly Obesity Policy Coaltion),  the Y (formerly YMCA) and Dalhousie University, Canada.

Congratulations to all team members and all those who have contributed to RE-FRESH’s research program.

Watch out for the release of this report in coming weeks.


Large food retailers discuss actions for healthier practices in joint Deakin University/UNICEF webinar

In November 2023, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office hosted a webinar on ‘The Role of Retailers in East Asia and the Pacific.’ The event gathered large food retailers, researchers, NGOs, and representatives of governments in the region to hear and talk about emerging approaches to creating healthy retail food environments in the East Asia and Pacific region.

This webinar was the culmination of a three-year collaboration between UNICEF and RE-FRESH researchers Prof. Adrian Cameron, Dr Tailane Scapin and Sarah Dean. The aim of the collaboration was to increase access to healthier food in urban retail settings and help children realise their right to adequate nutrition.

During the webinar, representatives from large supermarket retailers in Australia (Woolworths), China (7Fresh JD), UK (Sainsbury’s), and the Philippines (Robinsons) spoke of their efforts to address nutrition and environmental sustainability and discussed the crucial role of retailers in influencing customers’ overall health.

A summary report on the online session is available, providing an overview of the presentations and topics discussed, key take-aways, and identified actions.

Additional new resources (available at the project website) launched during this webinar include:

  • Reports into food-related behaviours of caregivers and adolescents from Asia and how they interact with retail food environments in their daily routines; and
  • Reports outlining changes in the overall food retail sector in China, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.

New worldwide map on healthy food retail initatives 

Looking for inspiration on how to create healthier retail food environments? Explore the ‘The Snapshot Series: Retail Initiatives from around the World’; an interactive map showcasing 30 retail, government, or research-led healthy food retail initiatives worldwide. This resource was developed as part of the collaboration between Deakin University’s RE-FRESH researchers and UNICEF East Asia and Pacific. Discover more food retail-related resources on their webpage.

Short course enrolments now open

Our innovative online healthy food retail short course is returning for the fourth year this July, in collaboration with Monash University, Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation and the Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition.

This course has been designed specifically for health promotion practitioners and policy makers, nutritionists and those engaged in the complex systems change needed to improve the health of food retail environments for population health benefit.


Three times the celebration for RE-FRESH

There were triple celebrations for RE-FRESH team members at Deakin University’s recent graduation ceremony at the Waterfront Campus.

RE-FRESH Chief Investigator A/Prof. Jaithri Ananthapavan (centre) was awarded a prestigious Alfred Deakin Medal in recognition of her outstanding doctoral thesis which looked at cost-benefit analysis as a tool to evaluate obesity prevention initiatives.

RE-FRESH-funded PhD candidate Carmen Vargas (left) and Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition (GLOBE) PhD candidate Ella Robinson (right) were both awarded their doctorates.

Dr Vargas’ thesis was titled “The Theory and Practice of Co-creation to Develop Health-Enabling Initatives: A Food Retail Perspective’, while Dr Robinson investigated barriers and opportunities for responsible investment to contribute to better governance and accountability amongst the food industry.

North, south east and west!
We review the RE-FRESH-funded EMCR
Knowledge Exchange Awards

From Adelaide to Amsterdam, Hong Kong to Hobart, our early-to-mid-career researchers have traversed the globe.

These learning opportunities have been made possible through a RE-FRESH commitment to provide financial support for the career development of its EMCRs.

These ‘Knowledge Exchange Awards’ over the centre’s five-year funding period have allowed for domestic and international travel to learn from senior colleagues, present at conferences, collaborate with research peers  and be inspired!

We’ve summarised their experiences in a special three-page report:  


Latest publications from our team:

1. From RE-FRESH’s Christina Zorbas, Miranda Blake, Anna Peeters, Steve Allender, Julie Brimblecombe, Adrian Cameron, Jill Whelan, Megan Ferguson, Laura Alston, Tara Boelsen-Robinson and co-author: BMC Public Health – “A systems framework for implementing healthy food retail in grocery settings.”

2. From RE-FRESH’s Jaithri Ananthapavan, Kathryn Backholer, Moosa Al Subhi, Steve Allender and co-authors: Obesity Reviews – “Spillover effects of childhood obesity prevention interventions: A systematic review.”

3. From RE-FRESH’s Adyya Gupta, Shaan Naughton, Erica Reeve and co-authors: Appetite – “Convenience as a dimension of food environments: A systematic scoping review of its definition and measurement.”





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