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Children's health

12th May 2022

Calls for sandwich meal deals in supermarkets to be banned

Stephen Porzio

“Literally, that should be illegal.”

An expert on obesity for the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said that sandwich meal deals in supermarkets should be banned.

The HSE’S clinical lead on obesity Dr. Donal O’Shea made the comments on Newstalk’s The Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday (11 May).

O’Shea was discussing a report from the WHO last week warning that overweight and obesity have reached “epidemic proportions” in Europe.

He suggested the rise in the conditions may be related to “celebrity culture and social media dictating how we think and what we choose”.

“Last week’s WHO report was very clear on that,” O’Shea told Kenny.

“The digital advertising, the digital shaping of young minds is driving a pattern of physical activity and food consumption that is in general unhealthy and is promoting an unobtainable body image online.

“And young people’s heads are kind of wrecked in terms of what are they to eat to have the perfect body and ‘if I can’t have the perfect body, well sure look, I’ll just order something from Deliveroo’ and fall into that culture.

“So, we have kind of population separation. About 2% of the population are super fit, have abs and bodies to die for.

“And the rest of us have fallen into what is now 65% adults overweight or obese and unfortunately the childhood stats have not improved.

“We’re beginning to see the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on weight patterns in young people.”

Later in the show, Kenny raised a comment from a listener to O’Shea.

The listener stated that if they buy a sandwich and a soft drink in their local supermarket, the combination will cost €4.55.

However, if they were to add in a packet of crisps, there is a deal for all three items for €3.99.

In response, O’Shea told the programme: “Literally, that should be illegal.

“The people who are in the supermarkets – the workers in the supermarkets and in the petrol stations – they’re trained to offer that special offer.

“And 70% of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says ‘well are you sure, it’s a good offer’.

“Then another 30% will say ‘ah yeah, go on’.

“They are actually trained because the industry has the stats and they know how to prompt and they know how to promote consumption.

“We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it.”