Sugar free checkouts for Richmond supermarket

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FreshChoice Richmond are doing their bit to promote healthy food options by removing all soft drinks and confectionary from the checkouts this week in what is believed to be a first for New Zealand supermarkets.

Supermarket owner Gary Watson says he has been thinking about making checkouts sugar-free for the last two years and finally implemented the change on Tuesday.

Gary invested in new fridges at the checkouts and they have been stocked with water, fresh fruit and fruit salads while the checkout shelves have been filled with  a variety of seasonal supplements, health bars and gift cards.

“The current health-climate in New Zealand is not so good and we’re part of that equation,” Gary says. “I felt uncomfortable with what we were doing so we made the change to be proactive in encouraging people to  snack healthier.”

Gary says the checkout shelves and fridges are a “prime position for impulse purchasing so it’s a great opportunity to change people’s habits.”

Soft drinks and confectionary are still available on their regular shelves in the supermarket’s aisles.

Gary says it’s too early to evaluate customer’s reactions to the change although there has been “massive support” on the supermarket’s Facebook page with the news reaching 45,000 viewers in the first 24 hours.

“It’s a work in progress so we’ll have to wait and see. We’d really appreciate any feedback from our customers  because don’t know if we have the mix right yet.”