Every dentist knows the perils of eating too many chocolates, sweets or other sugary treats. Not only do they contribute heavily to problems like obesity and heart disease, a fact that is well-known by most, they are also one of the leading causes of tooth decay and other oral health issues.
This can be a big problem due to the prevalence of sweet treats in UK shops, and the lack of restrictions on who can buy them. Children are especially at-risk, as they can easily spend any money they have on sweets.
Young infants are well-known for pestering their parents into buying them sugary snacks at the checkouts, where many sweets and chocolate bars are usually visible for exactly this reason.
However, in a piece of excellent news for UK oral health, one supermarket has decided to take a stand. Lidl has banned all sweets and chocolate from its checkouts, and replaced them with a healthier selection of offerings much more pleasing to the nation’s teeth.
Customers at Lidl can now see dried fruits and nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and fruit juices adorning the checkouts, providing an alternative to sweets. This removes all temptation for customers, and will help cut down on children using “pester power” to snag sweets from their busy parents.
Lidl UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich said: “We’re the first supermarket to take such a bold step. We know how difficult it can be to say no to pester power, so by removing sweets and chocolates from our tills we can make it easier for parents to reward children in healthier ways.”
Lidl trialled the ‘Healthy Checkouts’ last year, and found that seven in every ten customers would choose a checkout without sweets over one offering the sugary snacks. In total, the Healthy Checkouts generated around 20 per cent more footfall than normal till areas.
With these positive results, Lidl has decided to replace every checkout across its 600 stores with a healthy alternative. Dentists should be very pleased at this development, which will be very good for UK oral health.
However, the pressure is now on other supermarkets to follow this healthy example. Organisations like the Children’s Food Campaign have praised Lidl’s move, and called for more retailers to institute policies with the nation’s good health in mind.