There is power in the people’s voice.
Consumers in the United States receive more than 75% of their calories from grocery and other food stores, but the retail environment is stacked against us. Food manufacturers spend $50 billion each year on trade promotion fees to ensure their products occupy the most visible store spaces. Most grocery stores have agreements with big food and beverage manufacturers that determine product placement and displays. The result is that unhealthy products are more widely available, more prominently placed, and are priced to move from shelves to the homes of consumers.
Berkeley’s Healthy Checkout came about based on community data collected by the HOPS team and requests from Berkeley residents who are overwhelmingly in favor of having healthy items in the checkout aisles. In Berkeley Considers, the official online forum for the City of Berkeley, 95% of respondents expressed support for a Healthy Checkout Ordinance. Based on this, City Council decided to enact Healthy Checkout.
Historically, choice at the grocery store has been nearly nonexistent, with highly processed sugar-sweetened foods and beverages placed and promoted in checkout to encourage impulse buying. The passing of the Health Checkout Ordinance in Berkeley marks one of the first times in recent history that a community has had a voice in how they experience the retail environment.
“This policy is a gift to busy parents who can now steer clear of the sugar aisles and know that healthy treats are the only temptations when they wait in line to pay… redefining what it means to “treat” yourself – tasty and healthy food and drinks that will promote health. “
Holly S., Berkeley Resident and Commissioner, Sugar Sweetened Beverage Commission
Healthy Checkout – it’s about consumer choice.
The HOPS team gathered data, met with community members, advocated for Healthy Checkout, and is currently assisting with implementation.
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