“Junk food” placement in supermarkets under the spotlight

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 7th April 2009

A report by the UK Department of Health has suggested junk food be placed above the eye-line of children as part of a wider strategy to tackle high obesity rates in the region.

Industry body, the British Retail Consortium, has dismissed the idea as misguided, however, claiming retailers do not need the Government to tell them which shelves to put particular foods on.

“The Government rightly recognises retailers’ achievements in developing and promoting healthier eating choices and that more families are actually making healthier choices as a result,” British Retail Consortium Food Director, Andrew Opie, said. “UK retailers have a great record on reducing fat, sugar and salt in products, providing nutritional information and delivering discounts and promotions on fresh food – without any need for regulation.”

“Rules about which products should go on which shelves would be seriously misguided,” he asserted. “It’s very hard to see how this could work in practice. How high is child’s eye-line anyway?”

“It’s parents who buy children’s food. The idea that making particular foods hard to reach would make any difference is ludicrous.”

The Consortium contends that the proposal doesn’t take into account the logic of a balanced diet.

“There are no bad foods only bad diets,” Mr Opie said. “This proposal risks demonising foods which can happily be eaten as part of a balanced diet.”