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'Selection boxes were out before Halloween' - Could plain packaging sweets combat over-consumption?

Some 37,000 tonnes of chocolate was bought in Ireland last year
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.01 16 Nov 2021


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'Selection boxes were out befo...

'Selection boxes were out before Halloween' - Could plain packaging sweets combat over-consumption?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.01 16 Nov 2021


Share this article


The HSE's clinical lead for obesity has suggested chocolate and sweets could be put behind supermarket counters in plain packaging.

Dr Donal O'Shea says over-consumption is becoming a real issue.

Some 37,000 tonnes of chocolate was bought in Ireland last year.

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And Dr O'Shea told Newstalk Breakfast the confectionary industry seems to be doubling-down.

"I think this year there seems to have been almost a surge in the product placement over and above previous years.

"The Christmas selection boxes out a month before Halloween, piled up and in your face right beside the checkouts.

"Everything the food and drinks industry said they would start moving away from, they just seem to have stepped it up.

"And that's because there's lack of regulation, they can't help themselves - it's profit, and it's this year's profit, so they can't stop doing it.

"We're way over-consuming.

"The line of moderation is fine, but again the manufactures play on that and push hard for over-consumption - and they're winning".

He says keeping sweets out of the home - such as in the car boot - could be a good stop-gap.

"What we know from research that SafeFood have done with parents, parents want to discuss this their kids.

"Parents do understand that over-consumption is going on and they want to moderate it, and they want practical tips.

"Accessibility - no more than for alcohol or cigarettes - is vital, so the boot of the car is a good trick [or] out in the garage, if you have a garage".

And he says research suggests plain packaged sweets makes them less attractive to younger children.

"Out of sight is important: there's research to say it works, like there is with other initiatives like calorie posting on menu boards.

"But again the industry is fantastic at lobbying to obstruct this, and the Public Health Alcohol Bill was a really good example of just how powerful the industry is in lobbying".

'Selection boxes were out before Halloween' - Could plain packaging sweets combat over-consumption?

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image: Stacks of chocolate boxes in a supermarket in November 2019. Picture by: Paula Solloway / Alamy Stock Photo

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Chocolate Clinical Lead For Obesity Dr Donal O'Shea Newstalk Breakfast Over-consumption Plain Packaging Safefood Selection Boxes

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