Could Removing Confectionery from Checkouts Lead to Healthier Food Choices?

Adie Blanchard | 2014-07-17 06:03:07

When you go into any supermarket or convenience store you can’t help but notice the sheer amount of chocolate bars and sweets stacked up in the confectionery aisle, let alone the choice you are presented with when you get to the till. With all this temptation, impulsive buying of confectionery has become all too common and it’s no surprise when we are purposely faced with the decision, which often ends in an unhealthy food choice.

The best way to stop impulsive buying of confectionery would be to remove it from tills and checkouts altogether, and Tesco has done just that. Although larger stores stopped selling confectionery at checkouts 20 years ago, they are now removing it from the checkouts of all stores by the end of the year. The decision was made after research by the supermarket found almost two thirds of customers agreed that removing confectionery from checkouts would help them make healthier choices. Lidl has already done the same and Marks & Spencer have already removed all confectionery appealing to children from its tills. However, other supermarkets haven’t yet taken to this approach, where Morrison’s is still reviewing its policy and Sainsbury’s still sells checkout confectionery in its smaller stores.

Personally, I think this is a great step in the right direction to help combat obesity and many other health conditions which are on the rise. Just last night when food shopping in my local convenience store I noticed a small ‘health foods’ section located right at the back of the store, which is probably overlooked by most people. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it would lead to healthier food choices and also reduce unhealthy choices if these healthier foods were displayed around the tills instead of confectionery, and what the impact would be if there were fresh fruit and veg displayed there too.

When queuing at the till you would no longer be tempted by chocolate and sweets, which you would probably still pick up even if you weren’t hungry. Instead, you would only have the option to impulsively purchase something healthy, and if you weren’t hungry then you probably wouldn’t be tempted at all.

With obesity and many other long term conditions increasing in prevalence year on year, it’s clear that promoting healthy food choices and healthy living could go a long way in improving health in the UK. Although this might be a small step in improving the nation’s health, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Adie Blanchard – Researcher