Associated Food Stores, a Utah-based co-op is checking out healthier options for checkout lanes in cooperation with the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare's LiVe Well program, Grocery Headquarters reported this week.
Healthy snacks and fruit are replacing candy in at least one checkout lane per store.
At store-level kick-off events, sampling and educational booths will provide advice for healthier eating.
A Michigan mom is partnering with the Center for Science in the Public Interest with petitions calling on supermarkets to get the kid-oriented sweet temptations out of checkout lines. They aren't alone: Target began experimenting with the candy-free concept as long ago as late 2015, and blogger Judy Arnall has launched a drive to “Terminate The Toddler Tax Traps” – her term for the oh-so-tempting drinks, candy and gum often positioned in checkout lanes right at kids' eye level.
Hardly what you'd call a movement yet, but each of those efforts attracts attention, and usually more advocates in their corner. Still, in a Mother Nature Network article about Target sweets-free checkout, the concept was reported as so novel “that a photo of one on Imjur recently received more than 1.8 million views!”
Removing unhealthy temptations from the checkout aisle is important for all shoppers — both the kids riding in shopping carts and the adults who are pushing them. According to a CSPI report about products in the checkout lanes, items at eye-level can prompt children's requests for them, and seeing a product can turn on a shopper's urge to buy it. Additionally, the most resolute shopper who only wants to buy the healthiest food can find their willpower diminished by the end of a shopping trip. Easy access to less healthy products plays into that reduced resolve.
Having fruits and vegetables lining the lane actually uses the psychological forces of desire and fatigue to get more people eating better. CSPI's study also found that checkout lane purchases added to shoppers' carts and didn't replace other items, so a shopper might be pick up a banana to snack on even though he's buying an entire bunch.
Don't be surprised if there is good deal more activism in supermarkets this year as people react to — and react to reactions to — issues that have become politicized. With the president-elect becoming a surrogate for some brands and demonizing others, its likely political reactions can spill over into many aspects of everyday life.