Editorial: Supermarket checkout temptations resistible

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Onus on customers to buy what they know is in the best interests of their health

Most people are quite capable of eating treats in moderation. Photo / Thinkstock
Most people are quite capable of eating treats in moderation. Photo / Thinkstock

Supermarkets give a great deal of thought to the placement of products on display. Eye-level is said to be buy-level, a tenet highlighted at checkouts where shelves laden with chocolates and sweets present an open invitation for youngsters to demand a sugary snack while parents wait to pay.

Parents should, of course, resist such pleas. But when they are looking to exit the supermarket with as little fuss as possible, their level of resistance may be at a particularly low point.

Perhaps it is little surprise, therefore, that, according to an online survey, more than a third of New Zealanders want checkouts to be sugar-free. But why should supermarkets bow to this demand?

Sugar's association with obesity and conditions such as diabetes and heart disease has been common knowledge for many years, and it is hardly the supermarkets' role to dampen demand. Or to make customers feel better about themselves.

If supermarkets saw themselves as in the business of public health, the logical response would be to stop selling such products.

But in reality they are simply supplying items that are enduringly popular.

Most people are quite capable of eating these treats in moderation. Those who cannot should not need to be saved from themselves by an act of self-denial on the part of those in the business of selling profitably.

Customers know how they and their children can lead healthier lives.

If all temptation was removed from their reach, the next generation of customers would never learn.

- NZ Herald

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