Tesco, the UK’s largest grocery chain, recently announced plans to remove sweets and chocolates from all checkouts across all of its Irish stores. The change will be fully implemented by the end of the year across all 146 stores and is a Tesco initiative to support a healthier Ireland. Tesco Ireland is the first retailer in Ireland to commit to having all checkouts sweet-free.
“Our customers have made it clear to us that removing sweets and chocolates from checkouts will help them to make healthier choices so we are responding to this,” Tesco Ireland CEO Phil J Clarke said. “We all know how easy it is to be tempted by unhealthy treats at the checkout. At present, over 65 percent of our checkouts are sweet-free and are now extending this to all our checkouts by the end of December to make a real difference to all the customers we serve on a daily basis.”
Obesity expert Dr Eva Orsmond said: “With over 60 percent of the Irish population now overweight, it is also estimated that around 8 percent of Irish children are obese. Healthy eating plans are critical in this regard and are vital in combating childhood obesity in Ireland. Irish supermarkets have a clear role to play in helping parents and shoppers to make healthier choices for their families so I applaud Tesco for their announcement."
Tesco says removing sweets and chocolates from checkouts is part of a much wider, ongoing effort: The retailer is committed to helping customers live healthier lives by making food on shelves healthier and reducing calories across soft drink ranges, sandwiches and ready meals. In January, Tesco launched a new Healthy Living range, building on its previous healthy food lines. Greater amounts of fruit and vegetables are being added to Tesco ready meals and soups, with new ranges helping customers control the amount of salt, sugar and fats they eat, without compromising on flavor.
Tesco says it will test a variety of healthier checkouts before implementing the full change across stores by the end of the year.
Tesco’s approach to helping consumers make healthier purchasing decisions joins recent efforts here in the States by McDonald’s, Subway and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign - all centered on nutrition education and promotion of healthier food options, primarily to children.