Checkout aisles full of junk food are not only irritating for consumers; parents say they are fuelling the obesity crisis.
Those of us with children will know this scenario all too well - you've finally finished a gruelling food shop with the kids, but when you get to the checkout one of your children spots the rows upon rows of sweets and chocolate. Soon you are being pestered to buy the snacks by increasingly stressed out children. In order to keep the peace and get out of the supermarket sans tantrum - you buy the sweets.
Irritating is how many shoppers put it, but more importantly - is this practice affecting the health of our children?
A nationwide survey has revealed that 90% of shoppers believe the practice of stocking sweets at the checkout contributes to obesity. 83% of respondents said they have been pestered by their children to buy unhealthy snacks at the checkout and 75% of shoppers admitted to caving and buying the unhealthy snacks.
A campaign called Junk Free Checkouts has been launched in response to this survey, in a bid to pressurise the Government into tackling this ongoing issue. The British Dietetic Association and the Children’s Food Campaign announced the initiative, hoping both the Government and supermarkets will take action.
Obesity specialist at the British Dietetic Association, Linda Hindle said:
“Retailers are unwilling to stop pushing unhealthy food at the checkout and queuing areas. It may be lucrative for them but, as our survey found, it is deeply unpopular with customers and nudges purchasing behaviour in the wrong direction. If retailers can’t act on their own, then we hope to see robust action from the Government to tackle this problem.”
This issue was last looked at in July, when the Government initially agreed to abolish sweets at the checkouts, only to change their minds days later. A spokesman from the Department of Health says they are considering various moves in regards to healthy eating, including the abolishment of the junk food checkout practice and getting supermarkets to spend more money marketing healthy foods.
Consumers are more likely to make ill informed decisions after shopping when they are tired, making the checkout a marketing free-for-all; an easy way to make money for junk food brands - but at what cost?
To find out more about nutrition during childhood, please see our Life Stages page.
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