Olympics spark junk food binge: Sales of fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps surge during the Games
23:04 GMT, 3 September 2012
Supersize rise: Sales of fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps surged as the nation was gripped by the Olympics. (Picture posed by model)
It is hardly the reaction to the Olympics that the Government and health campaigners were hoping for.
Sales of ‘couch potato’ snacks such as fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps surged in the four weeks to August 18 – as the nation was gripped by the Games.
Sales of soft drinks rose by 10 per cent in value and 8 per cent in volume in this period compared with last summer.
Confectionery sales, which include chocolate, jumped by 8 per cent in value and 6 per cent in terms of the quantity eaten.
The figures, compiled by retail analysts Nielsen, also revealed a 7 per cent rise in the value of crisps sold, which translates into a 6 per cent jump in consumption.
The figures confirm the worst fears of the Children’s Food Campaign, which has been calling for the International Olympic Committee to ban brands such as McDonald’s from sponsoring the Games.
Campaign co-ordinator Malcolm Clark said: ‘The Olympics have become a celebration of “big”. For the junk food companies who sponsor the Games that means big restaurants, big audiences, big brand value, big profits.
‘But for children that could also mean bigger waistlines and bigger health problems later in life.’
Concerns: A McDonald's restaurant in the Olympic Village in Stratford, East London. Campaigners criticised the fast food chain's sponsorship of the Games
However, while sales of snacks
increased as people stayed at home to watch the Games on TV, high street
retailers were suffering.
report by the British Retail Consortium reveals August sales on the
high street went up by just 1.6 per cent compared with last year – the
worst annual comparison since November last year.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson, said: ‘Hot weather and the Olympics did help sales of party food and drink but that was more than offset by a really weak performance for non-food goods.
‘It’s clear people were absorbed by the magnificent Olympics and had little interest in shopping, especially for major items.’
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at accountants KPMG, said: ‘Retailers’ hopes that the Olympics would inspire a pickup in spending were dashed as shoppers stayed away from the high street and enjoyed the sporting spectacle from their armchairs.’
The Institute for Grocery Distribution's chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch, said: ‘Shoppers are still keeping a careful watch on their finances.
‘Nearly two-thirds tell us they are looking more closely at the price of products before deciding what to buy, since the beginning of the year.’
Bolt from the blue: It was hoped the exploits of sprinter Usain Bolt and other athletes would inspire viewers to eat a healthier diet, but sales figures indicate they may have had the opposite effect