Retailers 'undermine' kids' healthy eating, says CFC

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

The CFC has accused some retailers of undermining healthy eating
The CFC has accused some retailers of undermining healthy eating
Retailers Asda, Morrisons and Iceland have been slammed by the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) as the worst offenders for allegedly targeting children with junk food and undermining healthy eating.

The CFC hit out at the retailers for stocking a host of unhealthy snacks in queuing areas, making them easily accessible to youngsters.

The Co-op, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose also came under fire from the CFC, which accused retailers of backing out of healthier eating pledges.

The CFC’s Checkouts Checked Out​ report accused most supermarket branches and high street stores of continuing to promote unhealthy snacks at their checkout tills, despite having promised to reduce the practice a decade ago.

But in many cases, retailers were still positioning what it termed "junk food"​ at children’s eye level, prompting them to pester their parents for the unhealthy treats, according to the report.

Knock-on effect

This has had a knock-on effect to smaller-scale retailers and non-food outlets such as music retailier HMV, which also now offers sweets and chocolate near payment areas, said the report.

Sophie Durham, Children’s Food Campaign spokesperson and co-author of the report, said: “Impulse purchases at the checkout can add several hundred unplanned calories to a family shopping basket. Supermarkets claim to be responsible retailers, yet they continue to put their profits ahead of families’ health​.”

Durham called on firms to stop “pestering power​” and help parents in their fight to promote healthier eating among children.

It’s time to get the junk off the checkouts once and for all​,” she added.

Not surprised

Annie Seeley, a nutritionist and co-ordinator of the children’s healthy eating group the Food Commission’s Parents’ Jury, said she was “not surprised​” at the results.

Supermarkets seem to have reneged on their promises made after the Food Commission’s investigation a decade ago​,” she added.

“They have returned to the same bad old marketing habits of selling snacks high in sugar, salt and fat at their checkouts​.”

But Morrisons denied targetting kids and highlighted the work it was doing to promote healthier products across its entire range.

A spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We are already in the process of [making] a huge overhaul of our food offering. We will be holding a health launch in two weeks to promote the new products and children will be a part of that. It is something we are addressing on every level​.”

Iceland and Asda were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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