Supermarkets help prevent impulse buys

By Nichola Murphy
Wednesday, 11 October, 2017

We’ve all fallen victim to the lollies and chocolate at the checkout of a supermarket, buying high-calorie snacks we don’t need and later regret. But this could be about to change with healthier checkout lanes.

Obesity numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, and the temptations in the supermarket are fuelling this rising number. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in 2016 half of American adults bought ‘impulse buys’ at the checkout and 76% of them regretted doing so afterwards.

However, many people believe that promoting a nutritional diet and preventing obesity can be achieved if supermarkets replace these unhealthy snacks with healthier alternatives such as fruit, nuts and low-calorie beverages.

Parents were especially vocal in promoting this, with three-quarters claiming it is difficult to shop with children who are drawn to unhealthy snacks and 80% telling CSPI they would regularly use healthy checkouts in a supermarket if it was an option.

Two grocers in California and Utah have implemented healthy checkout lanes and found that they have been very popular, causing both to plan to convert more standard checkouts.

“We started with two healthy check-lanes and now we have 32,” said Bob Harmon, co-owner and vice president for the Customer at Harmons Grocery in Utah.

Northgate González Co-President Miguel González said healthy checkouts that provide consumers with better food choices are their responsibility, and it is something they are embracing.

Since 2014, healthier checkouts have become a growing trend both in the US and internationally. LiVe Well Lanes at Associated Food Stores throughout Utah have seen over 8 million visitors in the first three months they were open and a 49% increase in healthy snack sales. In the UK, Lidl, Aldi, Boots and Tesco have also adopted candy-free checkouts.

However, some supermarkets and grocers continue to capitalise on consumer temptations and advertise towards children in order to drive sales for unhealthy confectionery.

As a result, CSPI has launched a new campaign asking top food retailers to improve their food and beverage offerings in all checkout lanes. Walmart, Kroger, Publix and Walgreens are all on their list, and this healthier trend could continue to grow internationally as nutrition and health become more important to consumers.

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