IGA takes battle to fast-food with 21-day challenge

Posted by Isobel Drake on 24th March 2009

IGA, Australia’s largest chain of independent supermarkets, is encouraging individuals and families to abstain from fast food for 21-days, breaking the common and, often unhealthy, habit of relying on junk food.

The supermarket chain is encouraging people to think about their food choices by signing-up for the IGA Fast Food Blitz which runs from Friday 1 May and continues for 21 days – the length of time research suggests it takes to make or break a habit. By signing up for the challenge participants will have the chance to win a range of prizes including a Red Centre BBQ from Home Timber and Hardware and IGA grocery vouchers to help stock their fridge and cupboards with fresh and healthy products. People who sign up are expected to abstain from restaurant/fast-food/take-away meals for the duration of the ‘Blitz’.

IGA’s Food 4 Life ambassador, Cindy Sargon, and resident dietitian, Rachel Jeffery, will be assisting consumers in their bid to cut back on fast-food by offering advice on IGA’s website.

Cindy Sargon says the IGA Fast Food Blitz tests peoples’ ability to break bad eating habits. “Many people choose fast food or take-away meals as they believe it is a quick and easy option. It becomes a habit rather than the actual desire for the food itself,” she suggested.

IGA’s dietitian Rachel Jeffery believes consumers need to begin taking greater control over their diets, as the fast-food habit gathered momentum.

“Many years ago ‘eating out’ or getting takeaway was a special treat that occurred, at most, only once a week. Now most of us have a meal outside of the home three to four times each week, while some people eat at fast food outlets everyday,” she noted. “It is a real concern that fast food has become a regular feature in the weekly family meal plan, especially for families with growing children. There are so many quick, delicious and, above all, nutritious meals you can whip up that taste fantastic.”

The launch of the program comes at a time when supermarkets appear to be taking market share away from fast-food outlets who, in-turn, are taking share away from fine dining restaurants.