LighterLife Research Shows a Quarter of British Shopping Baskets are Filled With Junk Food

Jun 17, 2010, 11:18 ET from LighterLife

LONDON, June 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- LighterLife, the weight-loss and weight-management specialists, today issued new research that shows Brits are spending over a quarter of their weekly supermarket shop on junk food.

Of the average GBP65 weekly spend at the supermarket, shoppers are shelling out GBP17.22 on 'naughty' foods such as chocolate, alcohol, biscuits, crisps and soft drinks - the equivalent of 26% of all supermarket purchases. And this before any 'top up' mid week shops, petrol station purchases, morning coffee runs or lunchtime impulse purchases.

When it came to the worst offenders, ASDA shoppers were spending the most on unhealthy food at GBP18.23. The 'healthiest' shoppers were from Tesco, spending GBP16.65 on junk items.

Research into shopper attitudes shows consumers often don't realise what they are buying. Whilst many shoppers aim to stick to shopping lists and best intentions, temptation can prove to be too much.

    The survey also revealed that:

    - Over a third (37%) of those questioned said that every
      time they go to the supermarket they overspend their set budget
      because they are too tempted by what they see as treats (Fat fact: It
      takes just 3,500 calories to put on a pound)
    - 39% confessed that they expect to overspend on 'naughty
      treats' even if they didn't plan to buy them (Fat fact: Average
      yearly spend on junk food equals GBP895 per person )
    - A staggering 81% of people also admitted to buying additional
      snacks outside of the supermarket shop. (Fat fact: Just one latte a
      day can add up to 1 stone in weight gain and GBP600 a year)

When it came to top-up shops throughout the week, of those surveyed, the average spend was a further GBP11.99 on alcohol and another GBP20 in takeaways.

The data shows that many consumers are too easily seduced by treats and special offers and are unwilling to take responsibility for their bad food shopping habits. The research also demonstrates shoppers 'junk' food choices are costing the nation, both in financial and health terms.

In 2008, almost a quarter of adults (24% of men and 25% of women aged 16 or over) in England were classified as obese. In the same year, the number of prescription items dispensed for the treatment of obesity was 1.28million; this is ten times the number in 1999 (127,000).

Mandy Cassidy, Psychotherapist for weight-loss and weight-management company LighterLife says: "It's no surprise that the combination of too much temptation, cheap and readily available junk food, and food advertising is adding to society thinking getting fatter is an acceptable and even inevitable outcome. Whilst no-one can force feed us, being bombarded by all this enticement leads many consumers to seek instant gratification and reward themselves with calorific food. However, there are changes that can be made, and people do need to be more conscious of their food choices and take responsibility for what they put in their mouths."

Professor Iain Broom, Medical Director of LighterLife and a leading expert on obesity, says: "The cost of obesity, both to an individual's health and to the NHS, is significant and growing. As a nation, this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Too many of us abuse our bodies by choosing the wrong foods, in the wrong quantities, and in extreme situations this can lead to a dramatic reduction in life expectancy."

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SOURCE LighterLife