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Online Shopping: Hazardous To Junk Food's Health 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-snacks dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting that the trend toward online shopping is reducing the sales of impulse-purchase items, most notably candy and snacks often displayed at the checkout counter. As even grocery shopping shifts online, junk food producers are feeling the squeeze. From the article: 'Anthony Hopper, chief executive of advertising agency Lowe Open, said brands need to change how people buy chocolate, but acknowledges that it won't be easy. "If you're somebody who on average buys one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk on impulse once a week, can I encourage you that it's actually better value to buy a pack of four when you're doing your next online shop? It's a long-term strategy," he said.'"
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Online Shopping: Hazardous To Junk Food's Health

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  • by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:04PM (#45545395) Homepage Journal

    besides, you could plan to buy one at a time.

    if I'd buy four candybars and they would come in the mail I would eat them all! ALL! excuse me while I go raid the fridge for some kitkat.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Cadbury Dairy Milk? Yekkkk that's disgusting! I'll have the crab juice.
      • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:44PM (#45545623)
        Crabury Dairy Milk chocolate. It's as tasty as it sounds!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Newflash !

      Online shopping does not cure binge eating.

      News at 11

    • by sayfawa (1099071) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @10:32PM (#45545841)
      That's exactly why I never buy beer or snacks for "tomorrow". Because it would just get consumed tonight. Controlling the eating means controlling the buying. At least in my case. Forcing myself to go outside every time I want fat or alcohol helps a lot.
      • by JanneM (7445)

        We keep plenty of snacks of all kinds at home. You get a lot of snacks as gifts here, and a lot of really high-quality chocolates are only sold here during Valentine's and White Day, so my wife stocks up then.

        The trick is to set a limit, and make it a part of your routine. Convince your mind that no, it actually doesn't want any more because another piece would break the daily routine. We have a snack, candy or chocolate every evening after dinner. A snack, singular. One piece of chocolate, one candy drop,

        • That's awesome! Wish I had your self control. A pack of tic-tacs must last you almost two months!
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I can only moderate myself like that with drugs.

          If it's licorice, haribos or whatever it's munching time.

        • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:54AM (#45546531) Journal

          That kind of discipline is great, but our brains are hardwired to seek high calorie foods, to which snacks fit right in. Most people just aren't going to overcome the urge to eat too much at least some of the time.

          Case in point, the country with the most fat people is the one with the most "all you can eat buffet"s. For most people, it is easier and better to simply limit the amount of temptation than it is to deal with that temptation when it is 10 feet away...and salty, and rich, and sweet, and chocolaty and....

          Excuse me, need to grab a snack....

          • by TheLink (130905)

            Hardwired to seek high calorie foods? OK eat a spoon of unsweetened peanut butter. Or drink some olive oil. Or chew on some low sugar biltong. Does that help? :)

            The real problem is sugar is addictive for many people - sugar high, then crash, then want more sugar, repeat till obese. I'm lucky that I'd prefer biltong or good beef jerky to candy, or >80% cocoa chocolate. Except that biltong and good quality high cocoa chocolate bars are a lot more expensive... So I end up not snacking much.

            By the way there'

            • by jimshatt (1002452)
              Please ask yourself the question WHY the sugar is addictive. Because evolution has hard-wired our brains. So, erhm, thanks for supporting his point?
              • by TheLink (130905)
                I refuted his point. Pharmboy claimed we are hardwired to seek high calorie foods. So I gave examples of high calorie foods that I think most people aren't as addicted to- they may like it (or not), consume it but then they stop fairly easily - they may even stop for days or longer with no urge to reconsume them in the same quantities.

                And there are also people like me who aren't as addicted to sugar. I do not feel a great urge to consume more white sugar or a sugar solution after having a bit of it. But for
          • by JanneM (7445)

            but our brains are hardwired to seek high calorie foods,

            It's not quite that simple. I mean, very few of us actually spend much time hunting for high calorie foods (or any foods) after all.

            We're creatures of habit, more than anything else, and what that sugar kick does to you is reinforce a habit of snacking on sugary foods. Sugar may give you a jolt, but it's the habit that makes you snack.

            And refraining from doing something can become a habit just as well; it's just not as straightforward to set up. In a w

          • by mvdwege (243851)

            our brains are hardwired to seek high calorie foods

            "It's not my fault I'm an obese pig. It has nothing to do with all the food and snacks I stuff into my fat gizzard, it's the way my brain is wired, honest!"

            • "It's not my fault I'm an obese pig. It has nothing to do with all the food and snacks I stuff into my fat gizzard, it's the way my brain is wired, honest!"

              Meant to be sarcastic, but absolutely true except for some misunderstandings or misrepresentations.

              Yes, your body is very keen on eating high calorie foods, because during 99% of human history people could eat all the food available to them without bad side effects, and still the majority of people on earth can.

    • excuse me while I go raid the fridge for some kitkat.

      Why are you keeping your phone in the fridge?

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by citizenr (871508)

      besides, you could plan to buy one at a time.

      if I'd buy four candybars and they would come in the mail I would eat them all! ALL! excuse me while I go raid the fridge for some kitkat.

      You just discovered why Americans are fat, yay for you.
      Sad fat low income American goes to walmart, buys huge box of vegetable oil labeled as chocolate and immediately eats it all.

    • But but I do all my online shopping at http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/home.html [mcdonalds.com]
  • Junk Food (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BringsApples (3418089) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:05PM (#45545407)
    Yeah, because it's something that everyone should be buying, despite the fact that:

    so many are struggling financially
    people want to live better and feel better

    Right? It's got to be because of online shopping.
    • Yeah, because it's something that everyone should be buying, despite the fact that: so many are struggling financially people want to live better and feel better Right? It's got to be because of online shopping.

      Yeah. We should definitely control it. That works out well for alcohol and marijuana and 32 oz cups of soda.

      • by causality (777677)

        Yeah, because it's something that everyone should be buying, despite the fact that: so many are struggling financially people want to live better and feel better Right? It's got to be because of online shopping.

        Yeah. We should definitely control it. That works out well for alcohol and marijuana and 32 oz cups of soda.

        In American legislation, you're not supposed to grasp the principle. You're supposed to keep trying many different iterations on it, until there's a War on Everything. How else are we going to dictate to people how they shall live?!

    • Remember the Hostess bankruptcy? Sales of Twikies kept going down, and they said the reason was because "customers have migrated to healthier foods." [wikipedia.org] Which supports your claim about people wanting to live better and feel better.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:08PM (#45545421)

    People are getting poorer.

    But don't mind my life experience.

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Its poor that are getting fat because they eat cost optimized manufactured garbage thats so cheap you can eat a lot of it.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The price of those snacks has gone up, too. That's not surprising, that's what prices do, but wages haven't gone up with them. With three applicants for every job even if they were evenly distributed, it would be surprising if people were spending a dollar on something they used to get for fifty cents.

      To boot, more people are getting concerned about the amount of sugar they're consuming...

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:09PM (#45545427) Homepage

    Remember your home ec class? One of the lessons was to use a shopping list -- and stick to it -- in order to avoid impulse buys.

    Well an online shopping cart is, for all intents and purposes, a shopping list. Looks like your home ec teacher was right all along.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      reminds me of a story i recall reading a while back (sorry, don't have a reference) about how parents who got tivo found they were able to save money on toys, fast food/junk food, and assorted other items just because they could censor the commercials their children watched on teevee.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Yep, that class was the thing just like typing that the school decided that men would never need so they didn't give that class to the boys.
      • by istartedi (132515)

        Home Ec was under that cloud when I was in school; but some of us saw the writing on the wall when it came to typing. The typing class was still majority female. The teacher was this very prim, older woman--the classic professional secretary look. Taking that class "so I could use my computer better" was one of the best decisions I ever made to guide my own education. Absolutely nobody pushed me to do it. I think that fact that my father had been a Yeoman in the Navy and then later an administrator for

        • Do you have a proper keyboard with clicky mechanical switches? They provide the feedback you need to reduce your typing pressure to just over the level required.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        And as time went on, they didn't add that class for boys, they dropped it for girls.
    • Takes all the fun out of grocery shopping. I've tried online grocery shopping and it's really boring, plus you can't check the expiration dates or visible freshness on what you're putting in your cart. I prefer to go to the store when I'm hungry without a list and decide what to get on impulse, which makes it fun. But I'm also sane, so I limit my impulses to the things that are cheap and only spend about $150/mo on groceries.

      I'd do almost any other sort of shopping online, but there's no substitute for actu

      • by Ambvai (1106941)
        Same here-- I tried shopping with a list once. Failed horribly: Unless there's a special event, I know what I can make, and I decide what to buy based on current prices, quality, and how long to my next expected grocery trip.
        • Considering specials in the decision is important, people who shop from a list may spend more because they buy what's on their list instead of what's on sale.
          • Considering specials in the decision is important, people who shop from a list may spend more because they buy what's on their list instead of what's on sale.

            Not me. I have to have a list, since otherwise it takes me 3 or 4 trips before I get everything. Leaky memory.

            And if an item's on sale, I often grab it in addition to what's on the list. Plus, if I think of a specific use of something, that may require further purchases in order to use it as I wish.

  • I hit a different liquor store for booze tonight than normal. It was one of those yuppie "wine and cheese" places, because it was convenient.

    They had all sorts of chocolates at the counter. I skipped lunch and was hungry, so I almost got a couple to tide me over.

    If I was somehow buying magic alcohol that was getting delivered to me same day? Wouldn't have even considered it.
  • Figures (Score:4, Funny)

    by sacrilicious (316896) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @09:23PM (#45545511) Homepage

    Anthony Hopper, chief executive of advertising agency Lowe Open, said brands need to change how people buy chocolate, but acknowledges that it won't be easy.

    After that scene where he talks about eating fava beans with a light chianti, I figured he could make anything sound tasty. No surprise he ended up in food advertising.

  • they can just add an Halloween 2 in the summer time

  • If you smoke, buying cigs by the carton makes economic sense as well.
  • by pla (258480) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @10:10PM (#45545741) Journal
    If you're somebody who on average buys one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk on impulse once a week, can I encourage you that it's actually better value to buy a pack of four when you're doing your next online shop?

    No. No, you cannot. Because:

    1) Most people prone to impulse-buying your crap would eat it all the same day it arrives,
    2) Impulse buyers tend to act on impulse, and wouldn't actually seek it out deliberately, and
    3) People intentionally buying chocolate buy chocolate. Not your "HFCS, carob and soy lecithin" garbage.


    Now, if we consider junk foods beyond just candy, let's consider margins of impulse-buys vs planned buys. I happen to like Doritos. Yeah, complete crap, and bad for me, but I intentionally (whether impulse or actually on the list) buy them every now and then.

    As an impulse buy, I pay basically a buck for a 1.5oz bag of their crap. For two bucks, I can get a full-sized bag. So, Frito Lay needs to ask itself something - Can you afford to sell Doritos without the insane margins on your "vending-machine" sized packs? Or do those basically subsidize the price of "family packs" that you may well only sell for the purpose of keeping us "hooked"?

    Because the same logic applies to almost every less-than-bulk sized junk-food out there. Sodas make a great example - a 20oz soda at the register costs MORE than a 2-liter bottle. A 3-pack of gum in the candy aisle costs less than a single pack of the same gum at the register. Can "impulse-buy"-centric companies actually afford to sell only their more economical sizes?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Can you afford to sell Doritos without the insane margins on your "vending-machine" sized packs? Or do those basically subsidize the price of "family packs" that you may well only sell for the purpose of keeping us "hooked"?

      Because the same logic applies to almost every less-than-bulk sized junk-food out there. Sodas make a great example - a 20oz soda at the register costs MORE than a 2-liter bottle. A 3-pack of gum in the candy aisle costs less than a single pack of the same gum at the register. Can "impul

  • Dear Anthony (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669)
    I'm vegan, lactose-intolerant and allergic to casein. It seems that almost all snacks companies (chips, cookies, granola bars, chocolate bars, etc) not only do not care about losing all the vegan customers but some even have the habit of adding lactose to the ingredients. Lactose in chips, for example. Yes, there's lactose in some brands of salt and vinegar chips to give you a strange example. I know to avoid anything cheese-flavored but the salt and vinegar ones took me by surprise.

    Vegans in small towns
    • Your problem is that the vegan market is so small as to be nonexistent in most places. And the number of people who are both a) vegans and b) interested in junk food is even smaller.
    • This is very true. I am also lactose-intolerant and I've noticed dairy or dairy derivatives in the places you'd least expect, one of them being chips, another being meat (!?), and even some sweets that, as a pastry chef, I know it shouldn't use milk at all.

    • by cecom (698048) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @01:22AM (#45546639) Homepage Journal

      You are saying "I am a vegan" as if it is a disease and not your own choice. Nobody is forcing you to be a vegan. If there aren't enough vegan products, the solution is simple: don't be one.

      I am in a much more difficult situation myself: I only eat foods which contain meat. I have to tell you, no food producers and no restaurants are sensitive to my needs! Those bastards. I have been asking for meatball bread at my local Safeway for years, but they simply ignore me and laugh at me. Insensitive clods!

  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @11:06PM (#45545981)

    "If you're somebody who on average buys one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk on impulse once a week, can I encourage you that it's actually better value to buy a pack of four when you're doing your next online shop? It's a long-term strategy,"

    If you're somebody who on average buys one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk on impulse once a week, can I encourage you to try some decent chocolate.

    • Please don't. The increased demand will just push the price up for those of us who are capable of appreciating decent chocolate.
      • Not necessarily. There would certainly be an initial bump, but if the demand was consistent, then production would roll out to match. Maybe more fields (people buying more "pure" chocolate might require more plants to supply it), re-tooling, or whatever. Eventually the price would stabilize, and might even be lower, if the new demand levels allow for economies of scale and competition is cutthroat.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @11:18PM (#45546027) Homepage

    On a 0..10 scale of problems to worry about, this ranks around 0.01.

    The dynamics of on line food ordering could get interesting. Has anyone noted interesting suggestions from Amazon Fresh?

  • Sorry, It's not "online purchases" or "healthier eating" that's causing the drop in prices, it's the doubling or tripling prices for chips and soda.

    Most folks who are middle class can't justify spending 4.50 on a 12-14 ounce bag of chips on their salary. Living where I do, the only ones spending that are using the link card (welfare cards for food) to get chips, pop, ice cream, and other junk foods.

    The folks whining about declining sales just need to wait until more folks are on government subsistence, then

  • Here's a theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:20AM (#45546359)

    Perhaps you're actually better off not buying the junk food after all. You don't need to buy in bulk.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Perhaps you're actually better off not buying the junk food after all. You don't need to buy in bulk.

      But does the lack of junk-food compensate for the loss of exercise walking round the supermarket?

      • by jimshatt (1002452)
        That's why I've set up dozens of PCs in my house. One for each isle in the supermarket. That way I get the exercise AND the home shopping!
      • An 80g chocolate bar has 400 calories in it, 1/5th of a average daily intake. I doubt walk around the supermarket burns that much energy.

        You'd be lucky if it burnt 100.

  • As even grocery shopping shifts online

    Still waiting for that ... granted, I choose not to live in a hive of extreme population density that is probably required to make it work.

    But dang, there are days I would love to just place an online order and have some milk and bread show up.

  • Just display candy-ads on a page on the way to checkout. You'll still get impulse buys.

  • How about you make what people want instead of trying to get them to buy what you want to make. Just saying.

  • So sitting on one's couch Internet shopping is actually healthier than the alternative?

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