In the fight against childhood obesity parents play a pivotal role however, it is clear that everyday environments either assist or impede parents in making healthy choices for their children and family.
This snapshot study focuses on retail environments and explores the impact on parents of placement of confectionary and sugar sweetened beverages at checkouts.
Children have a significant influence on the purchasing decisions of families; pressuring parents to buy highly processed, unhealthy foods through pester power that is fuelled by junk food marketing to children.
Major retailers pay lip service to caring about the health of their consumers i.e. Woolworth ‘the fresh food people’, but their healthy eating messages are undermined by junk food being targeted directly at children and families in store.
The Parents’ Jury conducted an online survey of parents to ascertain their experiences at supermarket checkouts and predict future consumer behaviour in the event that healthy checkouts are introduced by one or more retailers.
The snap shot study found that 90% of parents had been pestered to buy unhealthy foods at checkouts
77% of parents would prefer to shop in a store where all checkouts are free from confectionery and sugary drinks
63% of parents told us they would switch to a similar shop nearby if it provided junk free checkouts
The results formed the basis of an advocacy campaign directed at Australian retailers calling for 50% of all checkouts to be confectionary and sugar sweetened beverage free.
The strong response from parents against confectionary and sugar sweetened beverages at the checkouts and their willingness to change their consumer behaviour by switching stores sends a powerful message to retailers that a healthy change is needed at the checkout.