Tesco to end checkout sweets in 'healthy choice' move
Tesco is to stop sweets and chocolates being sold at checkouts at its smaller stores in the UK in an effort to help customers make healthier choices.
The supermarket giant said it would take away confectionery from near its tills by the end of the year after conducting research into the issue.
Larger Tesco stores stopped selling sweets at checkouts 20 years ago.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison welcomed the move saying it would help tackle obesity and ill health.
Tesco says its research found about two-thirds of customers questioned said removing confectionery from checkouts would help them make healthier choices.
A spokesman said sweets and chocolates would also be removed from areas around the tills, and not stacked at a child's eye level.
The latest announcement will affect Tesco Metro and Express stores throughout the UK.
Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said: "We all know how easy it is to be tempted by sugary snacks at the checkout, and we want to help our customers lead healthier lives.
"We've already removed billions of calories from our soft drinks, sandwiches and ready meal ranges... and we will continue to look for opportunities to take out more."
Ms Ellison said Tesco was responding to the "clear demands" of customers for healthy checkouts.
"This initiative will help people to make healthier choices, which all contributes to reducing the long-term cost to our nation of obesity and ill-health," she said.
Earlier this year Lidl announced that it too had introduced a policy to remove sweets and chocolates from checkouts for the same reasons cited by Tesco.
And a report by consumer watchdog Which? published in December 2012 found that the Co-operative and Sainsbury's imposed similar bans, although not at smaller Sainsbury's stores.
According to the report Marks & Spencer had a policy to remove checkout confectionery "with characters or designs likely to appeal to children" from some tills with conveyor belts.
And the report said Morrisons was "reviewing its policy" on the issue.
Katie O'Donovan, of parenting website Mumsnet, said Tesco's move was "positive" and would make life "that little bit easier".
She said: "Popping into a shop with a small child in tow can sometimes feel like navigating an assault course.
"If you've made it to the checkout in one piece it can be really frustrating to then be faced with an unhealthy array of sweets designed to tempt your child."
Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger also welcomed the decision.
The MP for Liverpool Wavertree said: "Retailers have a duty to support individuals in making healthy choices and ministers must look closely at what they can learn here."