‘No wonder we have an obesity epidemic’: Coles criticised over unhealthy discounts

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A health-conscious Coles shopper has taken to social media to criticise the supermarket chain for promoting an unhealthy amount of junk food in its stores.

Jessica Lowe, a fitness nutritionist and managing director of Happy Healthy Nutrition, posted a short video of her walking around her local store to see if there were any discounts on healthy products, but was only left disappointed.

“No wonder we have an obesity epidemic,” she captioned her video.

“This is why we have an obesity epidemic in Australia and the world!” she wrote. “Seriously I know this is an over the top rant but the supermarket giants need to become a bit more ethical and stop thinking so much about profits – what is life without health!

“The reason these processed foods are on sale with 20% off, 25% or even 50% off is because the food is crap so even when the supermarkets knock the price down by 50% they still make huge profits! It’s not expensive to put processed crap in a box!”

Some Facebook users defended the supermarket chain, commenting that shoppers are responsible for their own food choices.

One commenter said: “No supermarket forces people to buy these things, they do so of their own accord… I’m responsible for what I put in my mouth, not a supermarket.”

Other Facebook users pointed out that there are similarly plenty of specials in the fruit and vegetable aisles.

Having worked in retail sales, the nutritionist says she is fully aware of retailers placing tempting items at the end of the aisles as a way to generate high profits.

The new mum claims she’s not a “saint” and enjoys the occasional treat. But argues the supermarket giants have an unhealthy obsession with marketing processed foods so much so they are now a heavy contributor to Australia’s big obesity crisis.

In a statement to news.com.au, a Coles spokesperson said: “Coles is passionate about supporting the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we operate by providing quality, service and value at our stores and through our partnerships with community organisations such as Little Athletics.

“Coles donated two million bananas to local clubs during the Little Athletics 2017-2018 season to provide kids with a nutritious snack during competitions.

“We have developed targets to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat across the Coles Brand product range, beginning with a program focused on Coles Brand nutritional snacks and cereals.

“Responding to customer feedback on the use of colours, Coles Brand has removed 28 artificial colours from products and continues to remove other additives across a range of products

“Coles has also introduced Health star ratings on our products, which are currently displayed on over 1,550 Coles Brand products.”

Making healthy food choices

Ms Lowe believes motherhood is making her more determined about encouraging people to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle. The post also mentions these types of discounts are only encouraging misinformed excuses and misleading shoppers into believing they have to pay big bucks to stay trim.

“It costs a lot more to drink soda than it does to drink water and eating poor quality food leaves you feeling dissatisfied which results in eating more because your body craves real nutrients….. real food!” she said.

“I will educate my daughter on what is right and wrong when it comes to food but what about the parents who do not have this message front of mind. This is when the next generation can be brain washed and influenced by the supermarket giants and what is on offer without having a second thought!”

Earlier this year, Coles was called out as the worst supermarket offender when it comes to advertising unhealthy food options. A study by Council Cancer Victoria reported that Coles filled 44% of its catalogues with junk food and sugar drinks, while fruit and vegetables made up only 4% of their advertisements.

A recent Canstar Blue survey found that almost nine out of ten shoppers pay attention to special offers and promotions, with 52% of respondents claiming they often make impulse purchases.

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