Tesco ditches ‘guilty’ sweet checkouts in all stores

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco plans to ditch the sale of sweet and chocolates at all its checkouts by the end of the year
Tesco plans to ditch the sale of sweet and chocolates at all its checkouts by the end of the year

Related tags: Food manufacture group, Nutrition, Tesco

Tesco is to ditch the sale of sweets and chocolates from checkouts – so called guilty checkouts – in all its stores by the end of this year.

The retailer’s chief executive Philip Clarke said research showed the move would help shoppers make healthier choices. “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,”​ said Clarke.

“We’ve already removed billions of calories from our soft drinks, sandwiches and ready meal ranges by changing the recipes to reduce their sugar, salt and fat content. And we will continue to look for opportunities to take out more.”

The Food Manufacture Group is staging a free, one-hour webinar on obesity and health to be broadcast at 11am GMT on Thursday July 3.

Healthier choices for their children

Tesco said nearly two-thirds (65%) of customers thought removing confectionery from checkouts would help them make healthier shopping choices. The same proportion added that it would help them make healthier choices for their children.

The retailer removed sweets and chocolates from checkouts at larger Tesco stores 20 years ago.

Katie O’Donovan, from the mothers’ website Mumsnet, welcomed the move: “Popping into a shop with a small child in tow can sometimes feel like navigating an assault course,” ​she said.

“If you've made it to the checkout in one piece, it can be really frustrating to then be faced with an unhealthy array of sweets designed to tempt your child. It’s really positive to see a supermarket responding to the views of their customers and trying to make life that little bit easier.”

In October 2012 Sian Jarvis, corporate affairs director at Asda, confessed that only “one in three of our checkouts are guilt free” ​in remarks, judged by many to be a public relations gaffe, on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Obesity and health: the big fat, sugar and salt debate

Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Group has teamed up with the Institute of Food Science & Technology to stage an online seminar – Obesity and health: the big fat, sugar and salt debate – at 11am GMT on Thursday July 3. Reserve your free place at the one-hour webinar here .

Taking part will be:

• Barbara Gallani, director of the FDF’s Regulatory, science and health division

• Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and chairman of Consensus Action on Salt & Health and Action on Sugar

• Dr Charlotte Evans, lecturer in nutritional epidemiology and public health nutrition at the University of Leeds

The webinar will be moderated by Rod Addy, online editor FoodManufacture.co.uk.

Once registered, you can listen to the webinar at any time after its broadcast. There will also be an opportunity to submit a live question during the discussion or you can email your query now to Michael.stones@wrbm.com​. 

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