A number of health groups this week launched a national campaign – Junk Free Checkouts – calling for the Government to revisit proposals to ban junk food from supermarket checkouts. The move has garnered responses from the industry and the retailers in question who have given their views on the importance of the debate and what they are doing to address concerns.

“Our policy is not to sell single serve confectionery at checkouts in our supermarkets. Customers have told us that they would like greater visibility of our promotions – as a result, we have introduced checkout displays which highlight a wide variety of promotions, including seasonal and new products, both food and non-food items. Recently featured products have included salad dressings, muffins, flowers, cakes, and outdoor dining products like paper plates, napkins and cups along with fresh fruit and dried fruit and nuts” – Waitrose

“We were one of the first supermarkets to stop stocking confectionery at main checkouts some years ago. This is designed to help customers shopping with their families and we’re proud to have led the way on this.

“However we also know that people want and expect to find confectionery near the till in convenience stores or when they are buying from our kiosks and sandwich areas. We also stock a good selection of fruit, nuts and other products alongside to provide healthier alternatives” – Sainsbury’s

“We are currently reviewing our offer at the checkout and will be introducing healthier options to broaden customer choice” – Morrisons

“Unplanned calories from foods high in fat and sugar purchased at checkouts contribute towards poor diet and poor health, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which may lead to premature death. Far too many retailers are unwilling to stop pushing unhealthy food at the checkout and queuing areas. It may be lucrative for them but, as our survey found, it is deeply unpopular with customers and nudges purchasing behaviour in the wrong direction” – Obesity specialist Linda Hindle for the British Dietetic Association

“Unlike the government, we have no problem naming and shaming the worst offenders at the checkout. And we urge people to do likewise: to post their pictures, to do a simple audit of their local stores, and to hand in pass or fail cards at the till” – Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign