It can sometimes be difficult keeping to a healthy diet – and our latest research shows that the odds are too often stacked against you when it comes to supermarket promotions.
It’s well known that eating healthily isn’t always easy and the cost of it can be off-putting too, so it’s a shame to see that our latest research has found the majority of supermarket promotions are on less healthy foods, tempting people to make less healthy choices.
Let’s chew the fat over less healthy supermarket offers…
Fewer healthy offers
When we surveyed over 2,000 people nearly a third told us they find it difficult to eat healthily, as they think healthier food is more expensive than less healthy food. And according to the respondents, the most popular way to make healthy eating easier would be increasing supermarket promotions on healthier foods.
But when we monitored promotions in the main supermarkets, using data from price-tracking website mySupermarket, we found that there were more promotions on less healthy foods than healthy foods.
Some product categories particularly stood out. For example, over the three-month period we investigated (April to June this year), we found that confectionery was overall more likely to be on promotion than fresh fruit or vegetables.
And seven in 10 soft drinks that would fall under the higher sugar band category (>8% sugar) of the government’s proposed sugar tax were also on promotion.
Temptation at the tills
We also looked at what was being promoted at the checkout. Our supporters and fieldworkers did a spot check in a range of stores and found that, while some supermarkets have cleaned up their act, sweets and unhealthy snacks are still positioned to tempt you in some stores – and some supermarkets are failing to live up to their policies to end this practice.
What was particularly shocking was how it has become quite common to promote sweets at the checkouts in a wider range of stores – including some toy shops.
Promotions play a part
The fact is two thirds of the population are now overweight or obese. But it’s particularly concerning that a third of 10-11 year olds and a fifth of 4-5 year olds are.
There’s no simple way to tackle this, but it would certainly help if retailers took their role more seriously and helped by ensuring that promotions aren’t part of the problem, so that people aren’t encouraged to make unhealthy food choices.
We want retailers to include more healthier options in their price promotions and remove less healthy foods from their checkouts. The government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy is long overdue, but still it’s essential that it clamps down on irresponsible promotions.
We’ll be tracking supermarket practices over the coming months to help ensure they shift to a healthier balance – and help more people to do the same.
Can you help us? Have you spotted any promotions on less-than-healthy foods recently? Or have you noticed any great offers on healthy products?