More than a third of food and drink products on special offer in Irish supermarkets are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Research commissioned by public body safefood found that the number jumps to over half in convenience stores.
The research was launched alongside safefood’s new ‘Transform Your Trolley’ campaign which aims to encourage people to re-balance their food shopping habits and make healthier, more informed food purchasing decisions.
The research, which looked at almost 70,000 food products on special offer, comprised interviews with retailers and shoppers, accompanied shopping trips and a consumer survey.
It revealed that price reductions (59%) and multi-buys (24%) are the most frequent type of price promotion. In addition, it showed that 85% of promotional offers were located in standard shopping aisles alongside regularly priced products, as opposed to end-of-aisle or special promotional stands.
Dr Marian O’Reilly, Chief Specialist in Nutrition at safefood, said: “We know that everybody loves a bargain and shoppers involved in the research told us that they made use of promotional offers to help manage the household budget.
“They also said they enjoyed the buzz of a bargain. But with more than a third of foods on offer being unhealthy it’s not surprising that last year Kantar data showed that the average household with children spend more on ‘treat’ foods (19% spend) than on fruit (10%) and vegetables (7%).”
The research also showed that shoppers wanted to see fewer promotions on things like confectionery (69%), biscuits (70%) and sugary drinks (66%) and more frequent promotion of fruit and vegetables (92%), fresh meats (80%) and fish (70%).
“These results highlight that people really don’t want to be tempted by unhealthy food offers, they’d much rather see healthy foods, and particularly fruit and vegetables, on special offer,” said Dr O’Reilly.