Coles Slammed For Promoting Unhealthy Food

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By Published On: May 18, 20180 Comments

Coles has come under fire by a nutritionist who recently posted a rant on social media about all of the junk food that’s promoted at the end of her local supermarket’s aisles.

Jessica Lowe, who runs Happy Healthy Nutrition, took to her company’s Facebook page to blame Coles for Australia’s obesity problem. “No wonder we have an obesity epidemic!!” she said, telling her followers that the excessive deals on unhealthy food “frustrated” her.

“I can’t believe the crap that is put on all of the promotional ends!” Lowe wrote. “I used to work in retail sales so I know all about promo ends being where consumers shop from and so do the supermarkets, which is exactly why they put high-profit items on ends without considering what they are promoting.”

According to the nutritionist, she filmed the 15-second video after realising there wasn’t a single healthy item on the end of the supermarket’s aisles. Admitting her rant was a little over the top, Lowe blamed the supermarket giant, and similar businesses for obesity problems in Australia and across the world.

“Seriously I know this is an over the top rant but the supermarket giants need to become a bit more ethical and stop thinking so much about profits- what is life without health! The reason these processed foods are on sale with 20 percent off, 25 percent or even 50 percent off is because the food is crap so even when the supermarkets knock the price down by 50 percent they still make huge profits! It’s not expensive to put processed crap in a box!”

While Lowe has long been a promoter of leading a healthy lifestyle, she claims the importance of eating a balanced diet and preventing future generations from being “brainwashed” is even more important now that she’s a mother.

She also claims that she has nothing against the occasional treat, just the “visible abundance” of treats in supermarkets that encourage people to buy more of the foods that should only be eaten “now and then”.

“This type of “sale” promotion is also what feeds the excuse of, “ I can’t afford to eat healthily!” This thought process is misleading and a misinformed excuse. It costs a lot more to drink soda than it does to drink water and eating poor quality food leaves you feeling dissatisfied which results in eating more because your body craves real nutrients…. real food!”

According to the nutritionist, she and her husband only spend $500 on groceries per month, and they eat very healthily by purchasing their produce from markets and fruit and vegetable stores. She claims she only shops at supermarkets for essential items like nappies and toilet papers.

In the post, Lowe urged her followers to like and share her post if supermarket promotions made them as frustrated as her. At the time of writing, her post had received eight likes from over 600 followers and zero shares, roughly 10 days after it was originally posted.

Jessica Lowe

Jessica Lowe took to Facebook to complain about unhealthy promotions in Coles Supermarkets.

Response to Lowe’s Video

After receiving coverage from the mainstream media, Facebook users actually criticised her for her rant, claiming it’s completely reasonable for supermarkets to promote their sale items, and that if people had an issue with it, they didn’t need to purchase the unhealthy items.

“Wow, a business promoting the sales they have on by putting it at the end of the aisle for convenience; mind-blowing concept,” one user wrote. “An even bigger mind-blowing concept is people walking past the specials/junk food and taking responsibility for their own weight/spending habits.”

Another user rebuffed the nutritionist’s claim that Coles was only promoting unhealthy items, saying: “Go to the fruit and vegetable section where there’s fresh food. There are always specials there too – is she going to complain about this too?”

Coles has also spoken up in its defence, citing multiple health initiatives it has spearheaded over the past few years, claiming the video is in no way representative of its stores.

“Coles donated two million bananas to local clubs during the Little Athletics 2017-2018 season to provide kids with a nutritious snack during competitions,” a Coles spokesperson said.

“We have developed targets to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat across the Coles Brand product range, beginning with a program focused on Coles Brand nutritional snacks and cereals.”

Coles has also taken steps to remove artificial colours and additives from its branded products, in response to customer feedback, as well as introducing health food ratings to more the 1,550 Coles brand products.

“In addition to these initiatives, Coles Brand provides a range of products for customers with special dietary requirements. This includes people who require gluten free options and products free of allergens such as nuts and dairy. We also cater for customers requiring vegan and vegetarian options.”

According to Associate Professor, Gary Sacks from the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University, Coles and its main competitor, Woolworths, both rolled out health star ratings on their company’s branded products voluntarily, but that they could be doing a lot more, and Aldi and IGA still had a lot of work to do to catch up to Coles and Woolies.

“Unhealthy diets and obesity are leading contributors to poor health in Australia. Tackling the issue requires a comprehensive societal response, including government policy and wide-scale action from the food industry, which includes our supermarkets.”

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