Finally…….supermarket Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) deals have been criticised in the news yesterday 😀 So here are my views on this topic…………
I occasionally shop in Tesco (other supermarkets are available). I look out for the bright yellow stickers highlighting the latest deal and think about the pennies I am saving. The ‘Buy One Get One Free‘ or the ‘Buy Two Get the Third Free‘ deals are everywhere though and I think back to how we used to shop before the mid 1990’s when the supermarkets really started competing with each other. I used to nip down to the local village shop (because they used to exist then) and pick up this and that and fit it all into a single plastic bag. These days we SHOP BIG; we drive to the largest superstore in the large family car, then pack it to the roof with (amongst other things) 10Kg of spuds, 25Kg of rice and 96 toilet rolls (obviously an offer too good to miss I hear you say!) yet there are still 35 loo rolls hidden under the stairs and the bag of spuds you bought last week are sprouting in the back of a cupboard. We buy like there is no tomorrow, just in case we get flooded or snowed in and because we are a sucker for a good deal.
So back to my shopping trip – my main issue as I walk down the fruit and veg aisle to get my 7-a day is why you can’t get the good deals here like you can with the junk. I can buy the finest apples and pears, vine ripened gourmet tomatoes or a bag of Maris Pipers but rarely can I buy them without having to think about selling a kidney. And so moving down the aisles, I am directed towards bulk quantities of burgers, chips, sausages and fish fingers. Wow! 48 packets of crisps for the price of 24 or 36 cans of lager for the price of 24. No wonder our sugar, fat and salt intakes are through the roof.
Regularly we hear the impending doom about the obesity crisis and now more worryingly, that predictions have underestimated the scale of the crisis. Recently the West Midlands (where I’m from) were reported as the second fattest region in the country, where 66% of people are overweight. Weekly, we are bombarded with conflicting health messages about what we should or should not be eating, it’s no wonder we have no idea what we should be putting into our shopping trolleys. All the while our risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and cancers remains ominously high because of what we are eating. I appreciate obesity is multi-factorial and behaviour change won’t happen overnight but I do feel commercial food producers and supermarkets have a huge responsibility to encourage consumers to buy more healthily if we are to prevent our life expectancy from creeping in the wrong direction.
And so this brings me to today’s news story:
We throw away around 15million tonnes of food in the UK each year (90m tonnes across the EU) – that equates to about £470 per household per year. So all these BOGOF’ deals that we think help us make such great savings are in fact making us fat, unhealthy and are ruining our environment and economy. Despite much of the general public not understanding the difference between ‘use-by’ and ‘best before’ dates (and hence throwing food away unnecessarily), surely it is not our responsibility to avoid the shopping deals? Much more responsibility is needed from the big 4 supermarkets – their lack of foresight into product sales means we have to dump the waste so they don’t have to! I am fully in favour of all the surplus food being passed to those that need it – charities and food banks.
Interestingly, I read about a recent study where visual prompts and freebies were positioned in a Morrison’s store at points of sale. As a result, people actually bought more fruit and veg! This ‘priming’ is such a simple idea, I think it sounds great but can we really bribe people into eating more healthily? If we don’t understand why we should be eating less processed food and why we should be eating more fruit and veg, will this result in long term lifestyle changes? Will the BOGOF share size bags of M&M’s win in the end?
So I will continue to look for offers whilst shopping and buy what I think is good for me and my family but I look forward to having a choice of weekly deals that enables us to be healthier. ‘Every little helps’ is not really a big help to me where I shop so perhaps I will try Morrison’s instead! Having said this I am shopping more and more in Aldi and Lidl now as many other people are doing, you don’t have to buy in bulk to get a good deal!