This month sees the implementation of sweet free checkouts in all 148 Tesco stores in Ireland. The move follows the announcement in May last year that Tesco would be the first retailer in Ireland to commit to removing sweets and chocolates from all checkouts to support a healthier Ireland.
Removing sweets and chocolates from checkouts is part of a much wider ongoing effort from Tesco to help customers make healthier choices which also includes the reduction of salt and calories across soft drink ranges, sandwiches and ready meals without compromising on flavour.
Commenting at the announcement Tesco Ireland Corporate Affairs Director Christine Heffernan said, “Since we announced our commitment to removing sweets and chocolates from our checkouts in May we have been trialling healthy snacks such as popcorn, dried fruits and nuts, healthy breakfast and lunch options and a range of health & beauty products to replace sweets at the checkouts. We are committed to giving customers as much nutritional information as we can both in stores and on our product packaging to ultimately make it easier in stores for shoppers to make healthy choices.”
In line with new EU guidelines, Tesco recently rolled out new product labels which include traffic light information on Reference Intakes (RIs ) and Energy, Fat Saturates, Sugars and Salt information on the front each pack*. The colours used for the traffic light system are bright and vibrant with a contrast against the background so that the numbers are easy to read for shoppers. This health and nutrition criteria has been used as the basis for selecting the range of food and drink products to replace sweets and chocolates in checkout displays. All products classified as low (green ) or medium (amber ) against all of the criteria are deemed suitable for consumption either every day or moderately as part of a healthy diet.
Exceptions have been made for some products classified as high (red ) where they contain natural sugars or fats and can be classed as one ‘5 a day’ serving i.e. dried fruit would have green / amber traffic lights against all criteria except sugar and nuts or seeds could have a red for fat. Products containing salt i.e. popcorn products have been evaluated based on the 2012 salt reduction targets and these products will continue to be monitored so that they can be replaced with lower salt alternatives as additional products become available.
Tesco notes the largest spike in online searches for healthier food from 8am on the first Monday of the year as people seek out healthy eating plans after indulging over Christmas**. Tesco will once again be supporting Operation Transformation this year with a number of activities including shopping lists online and in stores so that viewers can pick up ingredients to try the show’s recipes at home.