The UK’s largest retailer Tesco will ban sweets and chocolates from checkouts in all its stores after a survey of customers showed support for the move.
Research for Tesco stated that 65 per cent of shoppers wanted confectionery removed from checkouts to aid them when making healthier choices during shopping. A further 67 per cent said it would help them choose healthier options for their children.
Tesco declined to comment on what products would replace the sweets and chocolates, simply saying they would be “healthier.”
In 1994, Tesco was the first British supermarket to remove sweets and chocolates from checkouts in 740 larger stores, but they will now be removed from their existing 1,800 Tesco Metro and Express stores in Britain and Ireland. The retailer has committed to removing these by the end of December 2014, but the survey and customer response has propelled them to act faster.
Tesco’s chief executive Philip Clarke said the decision gained momentum after their commitment to make soft drinks, sandwiches and ready meals healthier by changing the recipes to reduce their sugar, salt and fat content. “We all know how easy it is to be tempted by sugary snacks at the checkout, and we want to help our customers lead healthier lives,” Clarke said.
The supermarket also seems to be influenced by rival Lidl’s decision to ban confectionary from checkouts in all 600 stores in January of this year after they also surveyed parents and acted on the results. With obesity in Britain now an increasing concern and sugar being labelled the ‘new tobacco’, the move from both Tesco and Lidl addresses the general concern regarding a decline in health within Britain as a potential obesity epidemic descends.
Ben Reynolds of the food and health charity Sustain supported Tesco’s decision, commenting that: “Parents will be delighted to hear that they will no longer be pestered for fatty, salty and sugary snacks while queuing at the checkout in their local Tesco. We hope that other supermarkets will now follow Lidl and Tesco’s lead, and realise that taking action to improve children’s health is not something to fear.”
Along with Tesco, Swiss food and beverage company Nestlé states it has also reduced the sugar in its products by a third, while Mars has cut the size of its Snickers and Mars bars so they are 250 calories.