The Center for Science in the Public Interest has hit out at US retailers for stocking confectionery at checkout counters.
The consumer group launched a Pinterest image board entitled “Temptation at Checkout”, calling for retailers to remove candy at cash counters.
On Friday, it hit out at Whole Foods Market for selling potato chips and chocolate near checkouts and urged it “to offer actual whole foods instead”.
Whole Foods Market said on Twitter that moderation was key. 7-Eleven, Harris Teeter, and Walgreens have also been subject to CSPI’s campaign.
@CSPI Our quality standards for acceptable ingredients within those products is very high. Like most foods, moderation is key.— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) March 21, 2014
We agree candy & chips should be eaten in moderation. That's why it's not right to push them through impulse buys at checkout. @WholeFoods— CSPI (@CSPI) March 21, 2014
CSPI said that companies spurred overeating through impulse marketing. The group posted and praised images of healthier checkouts such as a Walmart in Wisconsin that stocked fresh fruit, frisbees, and exercise videos.
Candy checks out
Confectionery’s position at the checkouts has come under threat in other established markets in recent times.
Earlier this year, Discount retailer Lidl removed all chocolate and sweets from checkouts except for Wrigley’s gum across its UK stores. Tesco is also trialing healthier checkouts in the UK.
This followed ‘a Junk Free Checkouts’ campaign , led by the British Dietetic Association’s and the Children’s Food Campaign.
Another campaign In Ireland , led by NGO Safefood, recently called on domestic supermarkets to make checkouts ‘sweet-free zones’ to tackle childhood obesity.
Obesity and the death of checkouts
A 2012 article in the New England Journal of Medicine said that candy near cash registers created an obesity risk and should be banned.
But could all the campaigning soon be a moot point? Dan O’ Connor, president and CEO of insight and advisory firm RetailNet Group recently said that emerging technology could spell the death of the checkout as we know it.
He said the payment areas for increasingly-used scan & go technology were merchandise free and further advances in technology could even eliminate the need for such areas.