It seems everywhere you shop these days, there is junk food, soda, and other sugar-sweetened beverages at the checkout. Candy at the home furnishing store? Soda at the office supply store? Munchies at the home improvement store? Yes, most retail stores are pushing extra calories on their customers. The Center for Science and Public Interest conducted a field study of checkout aisles in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area in 30 retail stores across 14 store types, from grocery and convenience stores to hardware, toy, and electronic stores. They assessed the presence and type of food, beverages, and non‐food merchandise at each checkout.
Across 30 grocery stores and other retailers, they found that candy, gum, energy bars, chips, cookies, soda, and other sugar drinks comprise the majority of food and beverages at checkout. The widespread availability of junk food and sugary beverages means that even shopping for clothes or books has become yet another occasion for food companies to push (unhealthy) products on people. This is a powerful form of food marketing that contributes to unhealthy eating. Just as the natural environment is polluted by chemical emissions, our food environment is polluted by a glut of sugar, salt, and fat—and checkout contributes to this unhealthy food environment. Despite high levels of obesity, retailers and food and beverage manufacturers push extra calories on people at every turn.
Check out the one-page summary “Sugar Overload: Retail Checkout Promotes Obesity”