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Removing Unhealthy Foods from Supermarket Checkouts in the U.K. Associated with Reduced Consumption

Country Correspondents: Partha Das and Roosa Tikkanen

In 2013, six of the nine leading supermarket chains in the U.K. removed unhealthy items such as sweets, chocolate, and potato chips from their checkout aisles. The move was a response to public concerns about unhealthy foods being the only options available at checkout, potentially contributing to rising levels of obesity. A new study published in the PLOS Medicine journal showed that shoppers at stores that made this change purchased 20 percent fewer unhealthy products than shoppers at other stores. A deeper dive into their habits showed that shoppers purchased less food to eat on the go than before. The government has announced that ending the promotion of unhealthy foods at checkouts is part of its strategy to halve childhood obesity in England over the next 12 years.

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