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Asda will remove all cartoon characters from the packaging of its own brand sweets, ice cream, and milk products. The supermarket hopes that this move will stop children from pestering their parents to buy them the foods, as they will look less attractive and fun.
Yesterday, the food retailer said that it will alter the packaging on 14 of its confectionery items, four of its flavoured milks, and nine of its ice creams and ice lollies.
This is an extension of Asda’s sugar clampdown last year when the supermarket first started to change the appearance of its products.
In February 2020, Asda removed cartoon figures from 12 of its own brand cereal boxes.
This was in response to ongoing concerns from health groups of “pester power” and a link to childhood obesity in the UK.
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“Pester power” is the term that refers to children nagging their parents to buy them a product.
In recent years, brands and companies have had to change the way that it markets food items in order to lessen the effect of this “power” and meet health standards and guidelines.
Twenty percent of 10 to 11-year-old children are classified as obese in England, according to the most recent Government statistics.
In adults, the figures are higher: 60 percent of men and 67 percent of women are overweight or obese in England.
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In its announcement, Asda also said it had reduced the amount of sugar in products across all its food categories.
The supermarket has cut sugar by 16 percent in ice cream, by 15 percent in breakfast cereals, and by 11 percent in milk-based drinks.
Asda nutritionist, Beth Fowler, said: “Being one of the UK’s largest supermarkets, we recognise our responsibility to help our customers to make better choices for themselves and their families.
“We see removal of characters from specific product categories as another step on our journey towards making healthier choices easier,” she added.
Many UK supermarkets have been forced to change how they sell their products after the Government released a new national obesity strategy last year.
In July 2020, the Government launched the ‘Better Health’ campaign, encouraging people to lose weight to beat COVID-19 and protect the NHS.
The new rules outlined in the strategy included a ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar, and salt before 9pm.
It also put an end to deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food – again high in salt, sugar, and fat.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last year: “Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier.
“If we all do our bit, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus – as well as taking pressure off the NHS,” he added.
Asda’s initial removal of cartoon characters from its cereal boxes was inspired by Lidl.
The German discount retailer first removed animated figures from its own brand cereals in January last year.
Now that Asda will be extending its packaging changes to more products, it might push other UK supermarkets to do the same.
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