Morrisons price cuts 'fill cupboards with junk'

But is it the supermarket's fault... or ours?

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Campaigners have hit out at Morrisons' latest round of price cuts, claiming that the 200 products affected include only one vegetable.

The Children's Food Campaign says that the discounts affect ten types of alcohol, nine different pizzas and seven varieties of sweets and biscuits, along with two types of cake sprinkles and 17 ready meals. The price of granulated sugar has been cut by a quarter.

But the only vegetable on the list, it says, is Birds Eye frozen peas.

"This supermarket is often cited as one of the worst offenders for marketing sweets and chocolates at the checkout and they clearly want to fill your cupboard with junk," Children's Food Campaign coordinator Malcolm Clark tells the Mirror.

"Their latest promotional activity only confirms how far Morrisons still has to go in offering parents a helping hand in encouraging healthy eating for all the family. The supermarket should start by doing more to promote fruit and veg and go junk free at all its checkouts."

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Morrisons has defended itself, saying that some of its more recent price cuts have included fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry, as well as wholemeal bread, milk and eggs.

As Clark points out, the supermarket does have form. Last summer, following another price cut campaign, the Advertising Standards Authority banned a TV ad that showed a young girl removing the salad from a burger before eating it.

But Morrisons customers aren't the only ones to be tempted into less healthy choices by price cuts. Recent research from the University of Cambridge revealed that price promotions are more likely to lead to an increase in sales of less healthy foods, rather than healthier choices.

And, on the whole, it's our own fault, as the research showed that supermarkets aren't generally discounting unhealthy foods more than healthy ones: in other words, we're tempted more by cheap junk food than cheap veg.

"It seems to be a widely held idea that supermarkets offer promotions on less healthy foods more often than promotions on healthier foods, but we did not find this to be the case, except within a minority of food categories," says Dr Ryota Nakamura, now at the University of York.

"Yet, because price promotions lead to greater sales boosts when applied to less healthy foods, our results suggest that restricting price promotions on less healthy foods has the potential to make a difference to people's eating habits and encourage healthier, more nutritious diets."
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