Are Impulse Sales at Checkout Counters the Next Target?

Consumer group going after candy, snacks, soda offered by retailers in multiple channels

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Greg Lindenberg, Online Editor

WASHINGTON -- Nonprofit consumer watchdog and health and food safety advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest--known for its crusades against movie theater popcorn, soda, energy drinks and other snacks it labels unhealthy--is going after convenience store staples such as candy and other impulse items at retailer checkouts.

Although it doesn't specifically mention c-stores, as part of a social media campaign targeting grocery stores, drug stores, big-box stores, electronics stores and other retail outlets, the group posted tweets ( @CSPI) including:

"Does it seem like every store sells junk food at the checkout? You're not imagining it. Look at our Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/cspinutrition/temptation-at-checkout/."

"We're sick of seeing all that junk food at the checkout...whether we're at a craft store, big-box electronics store, & even clothing stores!"

"Retweet if you're tired of fighting temptation at the checkout! http://ow.ly/uKd3i  Why do we have to face junk food everywhere we shop?"

Jessica Almy, senior nutrition policy counsel for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, provided the following statement to CSP Daily News:

"It's wrong to put junk food in the checkout. Placing products in these aisles is a form of marketing, which triggers impulse buys--and we don't need any more encouragement to eat junk food. People generally are consuming too much sugar and salt and too many calories, all the while missing out on the fruits vegetables and whole grains we need to stay healthy. The Center for Science in the Public Interest urges grocery stores and other retailers to transition to healthy checkout. We're beginning to see healthy checkout aisles pop up here and there, but we envision that soon entire stores will have 100% healthy checkout aisles, teeming with fruits and vegetables and the occasional jump rope."

The group would not offer more details on the campaign, but suggested that it would continue pursuing the issue.