Fine Gael Cork Senator, Deirdre Clune, has today (Thursday) added her voice to the Safefood campaign to remove sugary treats from all supermarket checkouts in the country. CEOs of Aldi Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Lidl Ireland, Musgraves Group and Tesco Ireland have recently been approached by Safefood and asked to support the proposed ban.
“I have consistently highlighted the fact that childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the country. Research carried out by the Department of Heath has indicated that the number of children that are overweight in Ireland has trebled in the past decade. Approximately one Irish child in four is now deemed to be overweight or obese.
“Parents’ attempts to encourage children to eat healthily are being put under pressure due to the huge availability of snacks at the checkout counters. Indeed, a survey by Lidl UK revealed that more than half of parents found it hard to get their children to eat healthily when there were snacks at the checkout.
“According to Safefood’s most recent survey, 47% of shoppers find junk food like sweets, chocolate and crisps hard to resist at checkouts, while 32 % of shoppers say they regularly buy junk food on an impulse while waiting in the checkout queue. The research also found that almost three quarters of shoppers believe that having junk food at checkouts is contributing to obesity, with 29 % stating they would be more likely to shop in supermarkets that had a sweet-free zone at the checkouts.
“When Lidl UK opted to ban sweets from its checkouts last month, I strongly welcomed the move and promptly contacted Lidl Ireland to request that the same measure be introduced here as soon as possible. At the time the company stated that they were gathering as much information about their UK trial before making a decision about whether to implement this initiative in its Irish stores.
“Following fresh enquires this morning, it has been confirmed to me that Lidl Ireland is still monitoring the trial – but I am urging Lidl and all the other supermarket chains to support this initiative as a matter of urgency. Childhood obesity in no longer just a concern, but an exponentially rising epidemic.”