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Confectionery-free checkouts register with NZ consumers

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By Oliver Nieburg+

Last updated the 18-Jul-2014 at 16:14 GMT

Sweet free checkouts gain support in New Zealand. Photo credit: CSPI
Sweet free checkouts gain support in New Zealand. Photo credit: CSPI

The impulse checkout channel may be under further threat after a survey revealed a third of consumers in New Zealand supported candy-free checkout zones.

A study of 2,271 Kiwi consumers by HorizonPoll found that 34.1% believed supermarkets should remove confectionery and sugary goods from all checkout lanes.

17.7% were against the idea, while the majority were indifferent.

UK checkouts going candy-free

Calls for candy-free cash registers in other markets have already gained traction.

Earlier this year, Discount retailer Lidl  removed all chocolate and sweets from checkouts except for Wrigley’s gum across its UK stores.  Major UK supermarket Tesco also committed to removing sweets and chocolates from all of its checkouts by the end of the year.

This followed ‘a Junk Free Checkouts‘ campaign, led by the British Dietetic Association’s and the Children’s Food Campaign.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) also recently attacked US retailers for stocking confectionery at checkout counters.

A 2012 article  in the New England Journal of Medicine said that candy near cash registers created an obesity risk and should be banned.

Source: HorizonPoll

Kiwi survey

In the New Zealand survey, 71.1% of respondents said that a confectionery-free cash zone supermarket would make no difference to where they shopped. Only 3.6% said they would definitely or probably not shop at such a store, while a quarter said that they definitely or probably would.

Countdown, a New Zealand supermarket chain owned by Woolworths, already runs a sugar free cash zone in each of its supermarkets. Other supermarkets have said they would make similar moves if there was enough public support.

Source: HorizonPoll

The tills they are a’changing

However, the retail landscape is rapidly changing and confectioners may be forced to rethink the impulse channel regardless of pressure on checkout lanes from public health groups.

Dan O’ Connor, president and CEO of insight and advisory firm RetailNet Group recently said that emerging technology  could spell the death of the checkout as we know it.

He said the payment areas for increasingly-used scan & go technology were merchandise free and further advances in technology could even eliminate the need for such areas.

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