Researchers in Sheffield have accused supermarkets of contributing to the childhood obesity crisis by exposing children to high-calorie food at the checkout.
Medical students at Sheffield University found goods packed with high amounts of fat, sugar and salt were on display at tills in three leading chains.
A study found 90 per cent of food products on display at the tills were defined as ‘very unhealthy’ by the Food Standards Agencies.
In Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda stores, the main healthy product on display was sugar-free chewing gum.
Research has shown the number of attempts children pester their parents to influence their purchasing decisions peaks in the aged three-to-five group.
Lecturer Dr Jason Horsley said: “The checkout is an area which all shoppers must pass through, so displays of highly desirable calorie-dense foodstuffs are an unavoidable exposure. “
“Children are a significant market for retailers of processed foodstuffs. Budgets dedicated to advertising to children have grown exponentially in the last three decades.
“Youngsters influence parents’ purchases through pester power.”