17th January 2014

Hey! Lidl! Leave Our Crisps Alone!

By Helen Gradwell on Friday January 17, 2014 with 1 Comments

Lidl has recently announced that it is removing all sweets, chocolates and crisps from the checkouts in its 600 UK stores in favour of a ‘healthier alternative’.

This move got a ton of media coverage in some of the biggest national titles. It appears to be a really honourable decision by Lidl, as it is objecting to the idea of using the ‘psychology of shopping’ to persuade consumers to make choices which may be ‘bad for them’.

It’s undeniable that putting sugary and unhealthy snacks at the checkouts tempts people to just throw them in their trollies last minute. And if there’s a child with you, they’ll be unable to resist. You’ll have a right unhappy little person on your hands if you refuse.

(Why have two of our blogs this week featured pictures of sad children? Sorry about that)

January is the perfect time to roll this out, too, as it is the time of “self improvement”. Gym memberships and health foods fly off the shelves as everyone convinces themselves they need to lose X lbs and banish all bad food from their diet. (All to be forgotten in that wonderful month we call ‘February’).

Lidl says it is reacting to worries about rising obesity and people – especially children – eating unhealthily, and the decision to ‘de-crisp the checkouts’ has been commended by health groups.

However, something about it makes me wrinkle my nose up a little bit.

Yes, we could all eat better – and probably should. But is it really Lidl’s place to decide what we do and don’t put in our trollies, or our mouths? To some, it may look a little bit condescending; Lidl has to take away temptation because we’d never be able to resist it otherwise.

Maybe I’m just a bit cynical. After all, this could have a markedly positive effect on the nation’s health (unless people manage to locate the sweets aisle themselves, of course). And it could give millions of tired parents the chance to bypass the sugary snacks, shop in peace and improve their little one’s diet. Perhaps I just shouldn’t be so suspicious when a big corporation makes a decision to look after its customers.

For the greater good.

I pretty much just had to object so I could use my excellent title.