Checkout Counter Ambushes and Into the Fat Trap

My Bariatric Life Health Guide

    Checkout Counter Ambushes and Into the Fat Trap

    Have you ever been waiting your turn in the supermarket checkout lane when suddenly the urge for chocolate grips you in a stranglehold? There you are, thumbing through the Enquirer to find this week's cover story, “Terri Hatcher's Drastic Plastic,” when you realize that your life is incomplete unless you scarf down a Peppermint Pattie. Fortunately, there are quite a few of them in a rack right next to you, as well as Hershey bars,  Snickers, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to name but a few. Talk about luck. 


    Those racks of candy that are just before the cashier are hardly a coincidence and about as subtle as an air horn. Nonetheless, we might find ourselves reaching for the chocolate or chips or sugary drinks that have been stationed within our range of salivation. 

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    No one is fooled. As a matter of fact, more than 90 percent of British shoppers believe that the practice of junk food in the checkout lane contributes to obesity


    Junk Free Checkouts

    Junk Free Checkouts is an initiative announced by the British Dietetic Association and the Children’s Food Campaign that means to stop the sale of sweets near the checkout stations. 


    A nationwide survey found that 78 percent of those who responded defined junk found in checkouts lanes as "annoying" while 83 percent stated their children pestered them to make a purchase. In addition, 75 percent admitted to making a junk-food purchase as a result of pestering by their kids.


    Two thousand people participated in the survey, with the majority being women. Two-thirds of the women had children. 


    Agnes Nairn, professor of marketing at the EM-Lyon Business School, states that the buying habits of shoppers are different at the checkout point following a few hours of shopping. Consumers are more likely to make an unhealthy choice when they are tired.



    The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) created a Pinterest Board that shows the candies and chocolates that are found in the checkout area. The board is titled, "Temptation at the Checkout."


    The group challenged the selling practices of Whole Foods regarding their stocking of unhealthy foods by the checkout and spurred a Twitter debate.


    Progress at the Checkout

    Some stores are trying to address concerns and are making changes to checkout-lane temptations. CSPI notes that a Walmart in Wisconsin has replaced checkout counter junk food with fresh fruit and exercise videos. 


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    A healthy checkout in the U.K. These healthier choices are significantly lower in saturated fat and salt than candy and chips. (CSPI, Lidl, U.K., 5/14)


    Discount retailer Lidl has also removed all chocolates and sweets from their checkouts in the U.K., with the exception of Wrigley's gum.   


    Tesco, the U.K.'s biggest retailer, has also agreed to remove all chocolates from small store checkouts in response to concerns issued by parents and health campaigners. It is hoped that this decision will pressure other retailers to comply as well. 


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Published On: November 03, 2014