Safefood: Supermarkets pushing products high in fat, sugar and salt

Safefood research has revealed a large amount of unhealthy food is put on special offer by stores
Safefood research has revealed a large amount of unhealthy food is put on special offer by stores

New research published by Safefood, sponsor of RTE's Operation Transformation, has found that more than one third of products on special offer in supermarkets are high in fat, sugar and salt.

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22 January 2019 | 0

New research published by Safefood, sponsor of RTE’s Operation Transformation, has found that more than one third (34%) of products on special offer in supermarkets are high in fat, sugar and salt. This number grew to more than half (56%) when convenience stores were surveyed. The research was launched to coincide with Safefood’s new ‘Transform Your Trolley’ campaign as part of its sponsorship of RTE’s Operation Transformation. The campaign aims to encourage people to re-balance their food shopping habits and transform their trolleys into healthier ones.

The research looked at almost 70,000 food products on special offer, interviewed retailers and shoppers, reviewed shopping trips and carried out a consumer survey. The results revealed that price reductions (59%) and multi-buys (24%) are the most frequent type of price promotion. In addition, it showed that 85% of promotional offers were located in standard shopping aisles alongside regularly priced products, as opposed to end-of-aisle or special promotional stands.

Introducing the research, Dr Marian O’Reilly, chief specialist in nutrition at safefood, said that while bargains are always attractive, shoppers need to consider the implications of loading their trolleys with unhealthy products. “With more than one third of foods on offer being unhealthy,” O’Reillly said, “it’s not surprising that Kantar data shows  that the average household with children spend more on ‘treat’ foods (19% spend) than on fruit (10%) and vegetables (7%) last year.”

The research also showed that shoppers wanted to see fewer promotions on items like confectionery, biscuits and sugary drinks, and more frequent promotion of fruit and vegetables, fresh meats and fish.

“These results highlight that people really don’t want to be tempted by unhealthy food offers,” Dr. O’Reilly added. “They would much rather see healthy foods, and particularly fruit and vegetables, on special offer.”

Symbol groups have long been keen to promote a  healthier image, but it appears many stores have a way to go on this front.

 

 

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