More than a third of Kiwis want to see New Zealand
supermarkets go completely sugar-free at the checkout,
according to a survey.
The research, which polled 2271 New Zealanders, was conducted
by Horizon Research in response to a move by British
supermarket chain Tesco's decision to remove sweets and
chocolates from its checkouts.
The Horizon survey found that 34.1 per cent of respondents
wanted to have sugar-free checkouts at their local
supermarkets, with 22 per cent saying they would seek out
stores that did not have sugary goods at the counter.
But more than 70 per cent said such a move would not change
their shopping habits and only 0.7 per cent said it would
deter them from a store.
Horizon Research Principal Graeme Coleman said the results
showed how more consumers would be enticed to shop at stores
that offered sugar-free checkouts than those who would be put
off by such an initiative.
"It looks like sugar-free checkouts may attract more
customers than fewer," he said.
"More people than not would feel better about supermarkets
who do it than ones who don't."
Auckland University of Technology nutrition professor Elaine
Rush said it was significant that more than a third of
respondents showed a preference for the move.
"It would likely have a big effect and feelgood factor on
both sides, for the store because they are doing something
customers approve of and actually giving the customers
something that makes them feel better about themselves and
using that store."
A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs, which operates New World, Pak'n
Save and Four Square said the company was keeping a close eye
on how the initiative went for Tesco's.
"We are also keen to find out what our customers think and as
such we are going to reach out to our customer insights team
to determine if this is something we should consider."
A Countdown spokeswoman said the chain introduced some
sugar-free checkouts about five years ago, and was constantly
reviewing its offerings.
"We always listen to customer feedback around the products we
stock and how our stores are laid out, as well as keeping an
eye on international trends and innovation."
34.1% want supermarkets to have sugar-free checkouts
21.7% regularly buy sugary goods at the counter
22% would seek out supermarkets that had sugar-free options
71.2% would not alter their shopping habits
32.9% would feel better about a store that had sugar-free
Source: Horizon Research online survey 2271