Stores Selling Less — On Purpose

The piece below is by a physician and healthy-eating advocate, and is about some UK grocery stores having eliminated impulse-buy, small-package junk food at the checkout. Apparently the move was a response to public concerns (aside: is that social responsibility? or PR? or both?). At any rate, researchers made use of this ‘natural experiment’ to compare junk food sales at these stores, a year later, with sales at other stores that hadn’t made this change. The result? Perhaps not surprisingly, “shoppers purchased 16% less small pack junk food from supermarkets that didn’t offer checkout aisle junk food temptations.”

There’s plenty of disagreement about diet, but relatively little disagreement that the stuff sold at grocery store checkouts is bad news. Do stores — companies — have an obligation not to sell so much of it? Or at least, not to use the standard tricks of the trade (such as eye-level placement, and placement near checkouts) that they know will boost sales?


LINK: Shoppers At UK Supermarkets That Got Rid Of Checkout Aisle Junk Food Purchased 16% Less Small Pack Junk Food One Year Later (by Yoni Freedhoff for Weighty Matters)

So it wasn’t a randomized trial, but the results were interesting nonetheless.

In the UK, a number of supermarkets electively decided to stop the sale of impulse buy small pack checkout aisle junk food. Researchers curious about the impact had a peek at their sales date.

What they found was encouraging and they detailed their findings in their article ….

What do you think?

See also: The Ethics of Selling Less and Success at Selling Less and From Oxycontin to Fast Food: The Ethics of Selling Not-Too-Much


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