The fantastic Children’s Food Campaign launched a report yesterday which surveyed retailers point of sale promotions of high sugar, salt and fat foods. The worst offenders were Asda, Morrisons and Iceland.
On the back of the report they have also launched a much-needed campaign.
Retailers have a long history of using this marketing technique to encourage customers to impulse buy products and children to pester their parents to buy them.
At a time when numbers of obese and overweight people and children are high and rising further still, surely it’s time that retailers took some responsibility and ceased to market products that undermine parents and individual’s healthy eating resolve.
I have friends who firmly believe that it’s down to individual choice whether someone is overweight or obese and that such people need to exercise more restraint. These views are based on personal opinion but not evidence. I would challenge anyone to find an independent public health expert who does not accept that the current obesity epidemic is caused at least in part by a social environment that promotes overconsumption of hssf foods. Point of sale promotion is part of that environment. So it needs to stop.
We have a ban on high sugar, salt and fatty foods (hssf foods) during children’s television programmes because there is robust evidence that advertising these foods encourages consumption. Why else would companies do it?
That point of sale promotions of hssf food is permitted (as these directly market to children) should be seen as a legal loophole that needs to be closed.
Our current conservative-led government have stated several times that they do not want to regulate. So we have to adjust our expectations and call on the government to work with retailers to include point of sale promotions in their responsibility deal for food companies.
They need to get retailers to sign up to the responsibility deal to stop point of sale of hssf foods.
In the meantime if you, like me get exasperated by point of sale promotions then you can post a picture of your worst offender(s) on the Children’s Food Campaign Facebook page
If you haven’t already got involved in the Children’s Food Campaign then please go to their website and find out how you can help.
Here’s one that I snapped in my local Shell garage. Even if you think that it’s down to individual choice surely this sort of promotion isn’t helping? I will also be going to my local WH Smith and Marks and Spencers too to snap away as for me these retailers are doing a lot to undermine healthy eating habits with their point of sale promotions.