Monday, January 11, 2010

Is The Selling Of Junk Food At Non-Food Stores Contributing To Obesity?

I don't know. But by the looks of this upcoming study in the American Journal of Public Health there's no shortage of Hershey's at Home Depot:
The Ubiquity of Energy-Dense Snack Foods: A National Multicity Study

It looked at over 1000 non-food stores in the US and found that 41% sold candy, soda, chips, and other packaged snacks - mostly within arm's reach of the cash register.

Drug stores and gas stations were fairly flush with the stuff. But creeping up the list were clothing stores, hardware stores, garden supply shops, auto repair shops, book stores, and furniture stores.

Is there such a thing as a snack store anymore?

This was notable: Availability of snack foods did not vary by racial or socioeconomic characteristics. Another of my preconceptions up in smoke. (Another misconception was that people of lower income spent less time preparing meals than their higher-income counterparts. According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, people in lower-income households spent more time preparing meals.)
That photo of what appears to be drive-by vending was taken in Tokyo in 2006. It's from abuckingham's flickr photostream.


Amy said...

I've always been a little bit skeeved out by the human snack food for sale in the check-out line at Petsmart.

I'm guessing if they can sell it there, they can sell it anywhere!

Jim Purdy said...

Junks foods are very profitable, because their long shelf life is made possible by all the preservatives and chemicals that kill bacteria. Of course, those same chemicals also kill the cells in our bodies.

Fast food from a machine is not necessarily bad. Just go to the machine that offers a hard-boiled egg, or a banana or an apple.

Matt said...

I think you are on to something. We can probably find out from some industry group what the percentage of sales for candy bars occur at these non-grocery stores. I tell you what any place that an impulse buy can be made, my son wants me to make it.

@Amy I totally agree, who buys that stuff there! That place reeks.

Anrosh said...

u bet ! i never saw so much snacks growing up ! 99% of the time my mom made and when it was over it was over - we had to wait for her patience to come back and make snacks again - no locking the cabinets worked because, we would find where the keys are and unlock them...

Bix said...

Snacks growing up - That's my memory too Anrosh, not so much.

What we had were corner stores or snack shops. They were tiny buildings with just a counter inside where you walked up and asked for cigarettes, a candy bar, or a newspaper. Everything was behind the counter. I don't recall chips being available in single-serving size bags. I'm not ancient.

Bix said...

Human food at a pet shop? Get out. I don't have a pet (save for Blinky the stink bug here) so I don't visit pet shops.

I did recently visit the pet food aisle at the grocery store. I was curious about pet food ingredients.

Anrosh said...

i would like to know what america was like before the coming of the mall and superchain stores. any book that you recommend..

how can i forget , we had someone called the "mithaiwala" translaated as someone who sells sweets - the indian sweets - if you know of them - BUT they are too sweet. Each region has its speciality and each town has its own ...but they are expensive - kids cannot land up with change to buy them ..

in villages the "mithaiwala" also would not exist -- no option but to make at home.

in reality - sweets would not be an everyday thing in india. it was meant for celeberations and festivals - the sweet tooth has to be satisfied with a fruit - right out ur backyard in the village, but where i grew up we used to buy from fruit vendors .

actually FRUITS were our "sweets".
and my dad would cut a piece of apple/guava. chikoo ( whatever was seasonal) every night after dinner .. You don't have to publish this ...

Bix said...

Someone once said to me that there's no such thing as a sweet tooth, that it's really a sweet&fat tooth. And if you try to do away with the fat part, people wouldn't want it.

Dr. Mel said...

@Anrosh--I read about just such a book a few months ago, but I can't remember the title. However, here's an interesting website about early foods in North America:
I have a salt, starch, & fat tooth! (aargh)

Bix said...

Jim, a hard-boiled egg in a vending machine? Truly?

My weakness is salt. Salt tooth. Salt teeth.