Results from a survey released by 'The Parents Jury' show that parents would overwhelmingly support the introduction of confectionery free checkouts in supermarkets.
72 percent of parents responding to the survey said that they would consider changing from their usual supermarket if a rival supermarket implemented a 50 percent confectionery free checkout policy.
Justine Hodge, The Parents Jury Coordinator, said, "This survey shows that Australian parents are fed up with the tactics supermarkets use to sell junk food to their children. 25 percent of parents said they would definitely change supermarkets if a rival was confectionery free in just half of its checkouts.
"Supermarkets deliberately position junk foods at eye height and within arms reach of young children at the checkout. Parents and children are a captive audience at this point in their shopping trip. Pester power and tantrums are common place events at the checkout counter in every supermarket in the country. Impulse purchase of confectionery items constitutes between 70 and 83 percent of total sales in this area(*1), and they add a significant amount of unhealthy dietary fat, sugar and salt to a child's daily intake."
"We hope that supermarkets will respond to what the customers want. By replacing confectionery with healthy foods and non-food items at the checkouts, supermarkets can support parents and win new customers."
One Parents Jury member from Melbourne commented, "I would definitely support a supermarket that makes the effort to provide junk-free checkouts. Parents and kids are a captive audience at the checkout, and pester power and tantrums are very real problems. It's about time we're provided with a real choice when it comes to paying for our shopping."
Currently in Australia none of the large supermarkets have instigated a confectionery free checkout policy. However, this initiative has already been embraced in the UK with leading supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco both now having over 70 percent of their checkouts completely confectionery free.
Obesity levels amongst Australians are rising rapidly. In 1985 approximately 10 percent of Australian children were overweight or obese, this figure has risen to approximately 30 percent in 2005. Experts estimate that by 2025 nearly half of all children will be overweight or obese(*2).
The Parents Jury now has over 900 members registered online who are increasingly concerned about rising obesity levels in Australia. Membership is free and open to all Australian parent, grandparents & guardians over 18.www.parentsjury.org.au
(*1)Australian Convenience Stores News
(*2) The Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity