Charity calls for restrictions on junk food promotions

Junk food fears web

A survey has found that more than half of parents feel multi-buy offers result in them buying more junk food than they want

4th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has expressed its fears about Scots’ shopping habits after it asked how multi-buy offers affect how people eat.

Cancer Research UK quizzed 1,307 Scottish adults on their attitudes towards purchasing junk food.

Researchers found 89% of parents believed supermarket promotions impacted what they buy.

Almost 57% of parents said promotions led them to buy more junk food than they wanted to.

The charity's Linda Bauld, who is based at the University of Stirling, said that the promotions can result in unhealthy eating habits.

She said: “These offers are persuading parents to ignore their shopping lists and buy cheap unhealthy food in large quantities.

“And if that junk food sits in our kitchen cupboards, we’re tempted to keep reaching for it, even if it’s been bought as a treat.

“The consequence of this fatty and sugary food can be seen on growing waistlines across Scotland.”

The survey also revealed 71% think too much junk food is on promotion in supermarkets.

Mother-of-three Susan Shaw, 61, of Edinburgh said: “If the offers were instead focused on fruit and veg, good quality meat, fish, as well as healthy snacks, people would be encouraged to eat better because these items would be available at a good price.”

The charity has called on the Scottish Government to restrict promotions on unhealthy food.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Tackling obesity is a top priority for this government and we will consult on our new diet and obesity strategy this year.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing the deeply ingrained health inequalities which persist in Scotland and it is important we take the time to get our approach right, taking into account the views of a wide range of stakeholders.

“We continue to engage with the food and drink industry on action to offer healthier choices, including rebalancing promotions and reducing added sugar.

“We recognise the need to shift the emphasis from dealing with the consequences of a poor diet to tackling the underlying causes, which is why we have consistently called on the UK Government to ban junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed, a move we believe would greatly reduce children’s exposure to the marketing of unhealthy food and drink.”