Australians generally have healthy intentions when it comes to their food, but it turns out we’re getting sucked in by supermarket sales on unhealthy food and drink!
A study by LiveLighter of 2000 Australians found that 53% of shoppers visit the supermarket every day or several times a week. Two thirds of the respondents said they plan their meals in advance, while half said they compare products to see which is healthier, meaning that most of us at least try to have a healthy diet.
However it turns out that three in five people admitted to being drawn in by supermarket promotions and sales on unhealthy food and drinks because they seem like good value, and this is having a dramatic effect on our health.
The most popular items bought on sale were:
- Confectionary and chocolate (67%)
- Potato chips and savoury biscuits (66%)
- Sugary drinks including soft drinks, cordial and energy drinks (65%)
People who visit the supermarket every day or several times a week were more likely to buy unhealthy treats on sale than those who only went to the supermarket once a week.
Heart Foundation ACT Chief Executive Tony Stubbs said, “Junk food like chips, chocolate and sugary drinks are often cheap to buy and heavily promoted in the supermarket, making them seem like a smart financial choice. But in the long run these foods could come at a cost to your health.
“Regular consumption of high kilojoule food and drinks can lead to weight gain and a build-up of toxic fat around your organs, which increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
“Planning your meals, writing a shopping list and choosing the healthiest option by reading the labels are all great ways to ensure you buy what you need for a healthy diet, but it’s also important to avoid buying unhealthy products just because they’re on sale.
“If you need more convincing, consider how junk food prices compare to healthier foods. One example is potato chips – they cost around $20 per kg, but bananas will only set you back around $3.50 per kg and are a great alternative if you’re on the go.”
The best way to avoid buying unhealthy treats is to visit the supermarket less often and stick to the outside aisles.
“Steer clear of cheap promotions on junk food and drinks by sticking to the outer aisles of the supermarket where there is a plenty of fresh healthy food like fruit and vegetables,” LiveLighter ACT Campaign Manager Bernadette Cording said.
“Also consider shopping at local markets, greengrocers or butchers where you are less likely to find sales and promotions on processed, high kilojoule food and drinks.”
LiveLighter’s top tips for a healthier and more cost effective shopping trolley
- Save money by making healthy snacks at home – they’re better for you, too.
- Compare the true cost of food and drinks using the unit price on the shelf label (eg $ per kilogram or 100g)
- Write a meal plan and a shopping list before going to the supermarket and make an effort to stick to it
- Spend more of your food budget on healthy foods to save money at the checkout. To make the most of your food budget, check out our simple guide
- Limit your visits to the supermarket each week. The less you go, the less you’ll be tempted by promotions on high kilojoule food and drinks, reducing the amount you spend at the checkout
- Avoid going to the supermarket on an empty stomach. You’re more likely to buy unhealthy food you didn’t plan on buying.