Thursday 17 January 2019

Call for crackdown on offers on junk food to tackle 'ticking time bomb of childhood obesity'

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

If you have ever found yourself with a bumper pack of chocolate bars simply because it was on offer at the supermarket, you are not alone.

Price promotions are tempting us to buy unhealthy food we do not need, according to research.

A clampdown on such promotions has been called for, in light of the new study that found one-in-three people finds such offers “very influential” when shopping.

The survey of 1,000 adults found that young people, aged 18 to 34, are most likely to buy products based on a special deal rather than necessity.

Men were slightly more induced by a bargain than women. Just 7pc of people said they weren’t influenced at all by in-store offers.

Senator Catherine Noone, who commissioned the study by Coyne Research, said it suggested that promotions need to be limited.

“The statistics of how influential price promotion is when buying groceries speaks for itself. I believe that restrictions on price promotion of junk food must be introduced as a matter of priority if we are to battle effectively the ticking time bomb of childhood obesity,” she said.

Read More: Shocking increase of childhood obesity in Ireland revealed

Catherine Noone
Catherine Noone

One-in-four children is overweight or obese in Ireland, making this country the 12th worst in the world.

While Ms Noone is looking at the issue from a health perspective, Climate Action Minister Denis Naughten previously indicated he would like to reduce the number of ‘two-for-one’ style offers for environmental reasons.

In March he established an action group on wasted food in the retail industry, which includes representatives from all the main supermarkets.

He told the Irish Independent that shops “have a huge role in influencing the purchasing and marketing of products”.

“Because of that, they have a responsibility. I would expect the industry not just to tick the box in relation to corporate social responsibility, but to act upon that. I’m looking forward to seeing real actions being delivered.”

He added: “We are generating two tonnes of food waste every minute in this country, yet one-in-eight people goes hungry in Ireland.”

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