Supermarket catalogues miss the mark when it comes to healthy trolleys
Supermarkets heavily promote unhealthy foods, but not fruit and vegetables, despite frequent claims of supporting fresh food.
Over a seven-week period, LiveLighter analysed weekly catalogues from Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA.
On average, only 4% of all items advertised in supermarket catalogues were fruit and vegetables, the study found. By contrast, almost 25% of Woolworths and 44% of Coles catalogues promoted discounted junk food and high-sugar drinks.
“What’s particularly interesting is that what Australians are eating seems to be reflected in the catalogues. Unfortunately neither the catalogues nor Aussies are being filled with nearly enough healthy food,” said LiveLighter Dietitian Amelia Harray.
Only one in 20 (5.1%) adults are meeting the recommended guidelines of two serves of fruit and five of vegetables every day, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Junk food and drinks provide just over one third of the kilojoules (34.6%) Australian adults are eating.
“Given that fruit and vegetables aren’t really promoted, it’s not surprising that most of us aren’t eating enough” said Ms Harray.
“With catalogues packed full of junk food specials, supermarkets have a key role to play in what people eat daily”.
“We know that people are heavily influenced by price, promotions and perceived savings when it comes to choosing what’s in their shopping trolley, so supermarkets have a big influence over how we plan, shop, prepare and eat food”.
It’s not just the lack of fruit and vegetables promoted that’s the problem, said LiveLighter Campaign Manager and Dietitian, Alison McAleese.
“For all of their claims of supporting fresh food and physical activity, we found that all of the supermarkets we surveyed missed the mark when it came to promoting healthy eating in their catalogues,” said Ms McAleese.
Coles recently announced a change in their marketing approach moving from the Down, Down campaign to the Good things are happening at Coles campaign.
“We’d hope some of the ‘good things’ happening at Coles includes making the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Ms McAleese.
“It’s a competitive market and grocery shoppers are smart. We applaud any supermarket taking steps to create a healthier environment for their customers”.
Deakin University’s recently released Inside Our Supermarkets Report also highlighted the important role Australian supermarkets play in the nation’s health.
Recommendations from the report included a review of promotional practices and product affordability including limiting price promotion on ‘less healthy’ products and improving the affordability of healthy foods.
LiveLighter’s call to supermarkets
- Increase the promotion of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. Let shoppers know what’s in season.
- Fresh, frozen or canned: Fruit and vegetables in all forms should be promoted.
- Reduce the amount of junk food promotion in catalogues. Consider the messaging of promotions and the placement of products.
How you can shop smarter
- Stick to the edges of the supermarket for most of your shop: this is where you’ll find the healthiest foods, like fresh fruit and veg, dairy, meats and bread.
- Buy fruit and veg that are in season. Not only is it cheaper, it’s usually tastier too.
- Always choose canned fruit in juice (not syrup) and canned vegetables with no added salt.
About the survey
This survey of catalogues from Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA was conducted by LiveLighter WA. Catalogues from 17 January 2018 until 6 March were analysed in the Perth metro area. Key findings:
- Catalogue promotions were categorised as either fruit, vegetables, junk foods and drinks (including alcohol), meat, or other (including grains, cereals, dairy, cleaning products, pet food, cosmetics).
- On average, junk food and drink promotions made up 18% of catalogue promotional space
- Discounted junk food and drinks took up the following space in these catalogues:
- 25% Woolworths
- 44% Coles
- 8% Aldi
- 25% IGA
- Aldi had considerably less junk food advertised and no alcohol.
- Fruit: Average of 2% of promoted catalogue items were fruit. Coles, IGA and Aldi catalogues all had similar figures, Woolworths were slightly higher with 3%.
- Vegetables: Coles, Woolworths and Aldi had an average of 2% of their catalogue space promoting vegetables, IGA had highest average rate of 5% of catalogue space.
For interviews, images or further information please contact:
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