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Candy cast out: Lidl goes confectionery-free at UK checkouts

By Oliver Nieburg+

14-Jan-2014

Chocolate and sweets exiled but Wrigley's gum survives Lidl checkout cull. Photo credit: The Consumerist
Chocolate and sweets exiled but Wrigley's gum survives Lidl checkout cull. Photo credit: The Consumerist

Discount retailer Lidl has rolled out its Healthy Till program across its UK stores, removing all chocolate and sweets from checkouts except for Wrigley’s gum.

The retailer trialed the healthier tills, which replace confectionery with fresh fruit and multivitamin juices, for 10-weeks last year and found traffic was 20% greater compared to traditional tills.

Gum remains; choc and sweets banished

The healthy tills were introduced this month across Lidl’s 600 UK stores. Wrigley’s gum remains a fixture, but chocolate and sugar confectionery has been banished. Sugar free chewing gum holds EU-approved health claims for dental health including helping to neutralize plaque acids and maintaining tooth mineralization.

No brand manufacturers will be affected as the retailer previously stocked only own brand chocolate and sweets at UK checkouts. Lidl will continue to stock Ferrero’s Kinder Bueno, Cadbury products from Mondelez International and Nestlé confectionery at other in-store locations.

The move only affects Lidl stores in England, Wales and Scotland. The retailer has given no indication whether the program will move to other countries.

‘First supermarket to take a bold step’

Ronny Gottschlich, Managing Director, Lidl UK, said: “We’re the first supermarket to take such a bold step. We’re committed not only to raising awareness of the importance of balanced diets and healthy lifestyles, but also to making it easier for our customers to follow them.  We know how difficult it can be to say no to pester power, so by removing sweets and chocolates from our tills we can make it easier for parents to reward children in healthier ways.”

Lidl surveyed 2,000 adults and found that more than half claimed that their best efforts to feed their children healthily were impeded by chocolate and sweets at checkouts. It found that 68% of parents were pestered by their children for chocolates when queuing at tills.

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, which has been calling for junk free checkouts, welcomed the move by Lidl and said: “The onus is now on other supermarkets and retailers to follow suit; and we and the British Dietetic Association will keep up the pressure for them to do so.”