Are the Supermarkets designed to make you fat and ill?
Posted on October 2nd, 2011

Dr Hector PereraƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  London

Cleverly designed supermarkets

Most of the times, we find an excuse for anything. The fault always goes to another person but you are reluctant to admit the mistakes and faults. If we ask the question, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Why do you spend that much money at a supermarketƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, you would say itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s the supermarketƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s faults. Unlike the war times, fortunately, now any supermarket sells any kind of food and drinks but it is you have to decide, what to buy and what not to buy and how much to buy.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Public health expert Rupal Sanghvi says that supermarkets are designed to sell higher profit margin food. Further she says, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The current supermarket template is not behaviour neutralƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. “The more times you bump into something at eye level, then more likely you are to purchase it, and store owners are aware of this. There’s a lot of product placement and they’re all about having an impact on the customer for example, the candy in front of the cash register for kids.”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I am sure you would admit the fact that, when you enter a supermarket, either you have a few things in mind to buy or sometimes have no clue at all. The supermarkets make you buy things that you not quite intended to buy. They display lots of trolleys at the entrance, tempting you to take a trolley than go without one.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Once you get in, there is no stopping; you just keep on filling up, as if there is a trolley filling competition. You see lots of people with kids hovering about trying to make you think, as if they are trying to fill up their trolley before any one else. The design is very clear, it gradually attracts inside the supermarket to buy more and more.

Very often, right at the entrance, on one side there would be a heap of something essential at half price for example, a favourite brand of washing powder packets at half price or cases of wines, buy one get one free. Now itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s time to get ready for Christmas and New Year so you would be tempted to buy wine, why too much washing powder? As I mentioned at the beginning, sure you didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t think of buying wines or washing powder in large packs. Already your trolley is nearly half full with washing powder and wines.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Impulse buying

Trying to encourage impulse buying may be obvious, but some factors driving shopping behaviours are more subtle. Bakeries are located toward the back of the store so the aroma will draw shoppers past items that might not be on their list, but which are likely to end up in the cart if spotted. Likewise dairy cases, where almost every shopper goes on every visit, tend to be in the rear. Once you get there, you are lost which one to buy as large number of varieties in different packs at reduced prices or at half prices, buy two get the third one free.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And for anyone who has ever wondered why supermarkets tend to be chilly, Sanghvi reports that heavy A/C actually triggers a basic human instinct: when we’re cold, we want to accumulate more food.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ “People go to clinics once they already have diabetes and hypertension, but people go to supermarkets every day.” So how can the supermarket become a venue for thinking and talking about health?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 


Come on move on!

There is a large counter with full of cooked food, from rice to chicken, with variety of pastries, Thai, Indian and Caribbean dishes in mouth watering styles and colours, attractive price packages so you cannot leave the place without buying some of these ready made, ready to eat dishes. How many times you had to queue at the counter because the lady or the gentleman in front of a short queue, keeps on buying too many things, your patience is running out.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I am sure they were not cooked on the spot but cooked a day or two ago but nicely, attractively displayed to sell. How many times you read before about the unhealthy conditions of ready made food because these are often laden with too much fat, salt, additives and artificial colouring but itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s too difficult go pass the counter without buying some of these foods.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Next stop?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ When you look around, you cannot exactly decide where to go next, just follow the crowd or push the trolley anywhere it goes? May be you wanted to buy some bread, buns and rolls. The supermarkets are quite generous, again too many varieties at attractive prices, buy one this price but buy two for less. I am sure often you cannot decide, white brown or whole grain, sliced or unsliced bread in many different brands. Then you see other kinds of bread such as Chapatti, Naan and rottis in attractive give away prices because of short shelf life. Some of these flat breads are based on ghee and oil which are not quite healthy to eat frequently but did you ever thought about these healthy ideas when you buy food?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Cakes, taste nice but not too much

As I mentioned before, the other products are cleverly displayed. You cannot escape without looking at the rows and rows full of different varieties of cakes. You would easily notice some families with kids keep on choosing so many varieties of cakes and ask the parents to buy and they hardly refuse their requests. May be you are tempted with that atmosphere of buying spree, you might as well end up filling the trolley with some cakes. Did you think, it has too much sugar and fat that are not quite healthy to eat, I am sure that didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t cross you mind.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Blood pressure, not right now

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As you go pass the rows of shelves full of verity of fizzy drink, more wines, sprits and beers at special offers. If you didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t get tempted to buy some of them, that is impossible. Then you see some people go pass or buying a variety of crisps, some are brand names, some are supermarketƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s own brand but at very competitive prices, would you not be tempted to buy these super size packets no smaller than your pillow? I am sure you know these are laden with saturated oils then showered with salts and artificial flavourings such as bacon and beef flavours? What about salt, itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s bad for blood pressure, it increases the blood pressure and saturated oils increases the cholesterol levels in the blood and blocks the arteries but none of them crossed your mind, did they? A fatty substance called plaque builds up inside the thickened walls of the arteries, blocking or slowing the flow of blood and this thickening is called atherosclerosis. Who would think these terms and conditions when you are just about to buy a bag or a packet of crisps, not a chance!

Fruits and vegs, may be later

Is this the end of shopping, not really, what about fruits and vegetables? May be you are thinking to finish shopping and go home but you might see other things such as discounted chocolates and sweets, ice creams, would you not stop and look? Then you see the whole isle full of biscuits as well. Very likely you might get a few packets of chocolates then go to biscuits isle. You might buy chocolate biscuits, plain biscuits or butter biscuits or any other. No biscuits or chocolates are made without sugar and you are aware, educated of the bad side of sugars but none of that knowledge comes at that moment, just shopping, am I correct?

Too much sugar can ruin the health

According to Nancy Appleton PhD and N G Jacob, there are146 reasons how sugar can ruin the health. Even the doctors inSri Lankafound that too much sugar is bad for children because it cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, and crankiness in children. I am sure you all know too much sugar in the blood cause diabetics andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ hypoglycaemia.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ We all need sugar to have energy but in control level. None of these knowledge cross your mind when you are shopping, did they?

Well, we all need food but should we blame the supermarkets if you shop too much for the wrong kind of food and get fat, obese and for the illness arise due to food and drink, who to be blamed, any volunteers? What shall we do, shop wisely and look after the health. Email


One Response to “Are the Supermarkets designed to make you fat and ill?”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our thanks to Dr Hector Perera advising us to shop wisely for our food. Consumers should read the labels on prepared food carefully and buy items without trans fats. Trans fats are modified fats that coat the arteries. The human body has no mechanism to deal with artificial fats and as a result these fats float in the blood stream and tend to coat arteries. High heat also tends to alter fats & oils. Be aware of fried food. Another lesser known fact is that the enzyme Bromelain found in Pineapple helps digest fats & oils, and claims have been made that it aids to remove plaque from arteries. Please check all my above statements with your doctor and on the internet before accepting them as true.

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