Should supermarkets have "slow lanes" for the elderly?

A new UK study thinks so...

Should supermarkets have "slow lanes" for the elderly?

Shoppers and consumable goods in a Tesco supermarket on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin | Image:

Slow checkout lanes specifically tailored for older customers should be introduced in supermarkets, according to a new report.

Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire in Britain have found that removing the pressure to rush their shopping experience would allow the elderly to enjoy the "social aspect" of the supermarket and be of particular benefit to those living in isolated areas.

They are also calling for supermarkets to provide more seating and employ special offers to encourage people over 60 to shop during quieter times of the week.

The study noted that some elderly shoppers are feeling "disenfranchised" by offers targeted at families buying in bulk or higher spenders.

It also found that the traditional trip to the local store is being threatened as online shopping becomes more popular.

One of the report's authors, Professor Wendy Wills, said:

"Older people are more likely to have a wide range of factors working against them when it comes to sourcing, buying and preparing food.

"Industry and policymakers have a real opportunity to introduce practical and cost-effective measures that support older people to enjoy a healthy, affordable and safe diet, and to develop, or continue with, a positive relationship with food.

"Failure to act could result in older people's food security, and therefore their health and wellbeing, declining at a faster rate, placing greater pressure on the NHS and care providers."

Researchers, funded by the Food Standards Agency and the Economic Social Research Council in the UK, spent nine months studying the food habits of men and women aged between 60 and 93 from 25 households in Hertfordshire.