Bad diets mirror supermarket catalogues

The poor eating habits of many Australians appear to mimic supermarket catalogues, filled with too much junk food and soft drinks and not enough fruit and vegetables, a study has found.

Mar 23, 2018, updated Mar 23, 2018
Photo: AAP/Sam Mooy

Photo: AAP/Sam Mooy

Over a seven-week period, researchers at Cancer Council Victoria for the LiveLighter campaign analysed weekly catalogues from Australia’s big four supermarkets: Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA.

The analysis showed on average just four per cent of all items advertised in supermarket catalogues were fruit and vegetables.

By contrast, discounted junk food items and sugary drinks made up 44 per cent of advertising in Coles catalogues.

Woolworths and IGA catalogues didn’t fare much better, with junk foods and sugar-laden drinks taking up 25 per cent of the advertising space, followed by Aldi at eight per cent.

LiveLighter Dietitian Amelia Harray says supermarket catalogues miss the mark when it comes to promoting healthy eating and appear to be playing a key role in the poor diets of Australians.

“What’s particularly interesting is that what Australians are eating seems to be reflected in the catalogues. Unfortunately, neither the catalogues nor Aussies are being filled with nearly enough healthy food,” said Harray.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show only one in 20 (5.1 per cent) adults meet the recommended guidelines of two serves of fruit and five of vegetables every day, while junk food and drinks provide over one-third of the kilojoules (34.6 per cent) Australian adults are eating.

“With catalogues packed full of junk food specials, supermarkets have a key role to play in what people eat daily,” said Harray.

“We know that people are heavily influenced by price, promotions and perceived savings when it comes to choosing what’s in their shopping trolley, so supermarkets have a big influence over how we plan, shop, prepare and eat food”.


Coles WA Metro (14th Feb – 20th Feb)

Total ads: 309

Fruit: 3

Vegetables: 6

Alcohol: 34

Junk Food: 52

Meat: 36

Other: 178

Woolworths WA (14th Feb – 20th Feb)

Total ads: 314

Fruit: 9

Vegetables: 7

Alcohol: 30

Junk Food: 40

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Meat: 42

Other: 186

Aldi Catalogue(14th Feb – 20th Feb)

Total ads: 99

Fruit: 0

Vegetables: 0

Alcohol: 0

Junk Food: 12

Meat: 6

Other: 81

IGA Catalogue (14th Feb – 20th Feb)

Total ads: 108

Fruit: 4

Vegetables: 6

Alcohol: 0

Junk Food: 25

Meat: 15

Other: 58

(Source LiveLighter)


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