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Sweets at supermarket tills 'undermine healthy eating'

Campaigners want displays of sweets and snacks to be removed from supermarket checkouts as they claim that they undermine parents' efforts to feed children healthily.

Sweets displayed by the checkout can undermine healthy eating choices

Campaigners want displays of sweets and snacks to be removed from supermarket checkouts as they claim that they undermine parents' efforts to feed children healthily.

The Children's Food Campaign says most high street supermarkets place junk snacks near tills despite promising a decade ago to reduce or remove them. Researchers surveyed hundreds of checkouts at 48 stores in London.

The authors of the report, Checkouts Checked Out, say they found that in many cases, junk food was positioned at children's eye level, prompting them to pester for sweets, crisps and soft drinks.
The researchers also found unhealthy snacks at four out of five checkouts at the Asda, Morrisons and Iceland stores they visited. They also criticised the Co-op, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose for making families queue past shelves of sweets and snacks to get to the tills.

The authors also said they were disturbed that non-food retailers such as HMV, New Look, Superdrug and WH Smith were featuring sweets and chocolates in the queuing area. However the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the report ignored the bigger, positive picture.
They also said that none of the traditional format supermarkets they visited had any healthy food options promoted at their checkouts, and that it was impossible to avoid junk food at the checkouts of the compact high street stores. They did, however, praise Waitrose for the fresh fruit displays near the tills at its flagship Oxford Street store.

The Children's Food Campaign wants junk food removed from tills in all types of store and says the government should make this a key public health initiative, even widening the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority to include the positioning of unhealthy products.

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