Equal rights for healthy food – NOW!

Sugar ComaSo there’s a proposal kicking around to ban junk food from one checkout aisle at every supermarket.

Just in the ACT though, so it’ll only affect the five people in Canberra who don’t charge all their groceries to a government credit card and have them home delivered.

So if this proposal does come in, you know which supermarket queue people will choose?

The one with the fewest people in it. Duh.


This proposal pops up every few years, and one of the main reasons always given is that it offers respite for parents with children who whinge for sweets.

However, if this is such an issue, how do the parents manage to take their kids anywhere?

Convenience stores, chemists, other supermarket aisles, and so many others. All with those evil sweeties next to the register.

However, the sweets aren’t the problem. It’s parents who blame everyone else for their inability to control their children.

My mum had an extremely effective method for stopping me asking for sweets. She dropped me on my head. By accident, apparently.

Really, providing one sugar free supermarket checkout does very little about the core problem.

That some parents are lazy and stupid, and they don’t drop their kids enough.

Sugar - Coffee FlavouredHang on, that’s not actually the problem.

It’s that sugar is continuously shoved in all our faces, and it’s highly addictive, and it’s really bad for us.

Low-fat foods are widely available now but sugar is just as bad for us, if not worse, and it’s been getting away with murder for years.

So we shouldn’t be targeting the checkouts or the parents. We need to target the sugar.

Here’s my proposal. Half the checkouts have junk food. Half of them do not. Then there’s only one queue, and similar to the security checkpoints at some airports, there’s a security guard who directs people to the different checkouts.

Then the supermarket security guard operates like a nightclub bouncer, but with a twist. Instead of knocking back anyone who’s too drunk or male, they decide who’s allowed near the sweets.

It seems harsh, but what would you prefer? A healthier society with a few more rules, or type two diabetes for everyone?

Or we could do something sensible. The government are a bunch of people whose job it is to look after us. So they could actually start looking after us, by providing better labelling on all food. Making it obvious to all who can read, how fat and sugar and everything else in our food is affecting us.

Until the government, the supermarkets and society decides that being healthy is more important than money, however, we’re all stuffed and the sugar bombardment will continue.

We need subsidies, so it becomes just as profitable for shops to put the healthy stuff next to the register.

Opponents to my amazing idea will say that people need to exercise a bit of free will. Or just exercise.

Well how free is your will when the sugary stuff is heavily advertised, widely available and highly addictive?

As a compromise, let’s make it a rule that healthy stuff has to feature in the same amount of advertising, and gets the same amount of checkout space.

Finally, equal rights for the food we should be eating.

Who’s going to pay for it all? The companies who make the junk food.

Which will probably never happen. So your only option to escape temptation, if your mum isn’t around to drop you on your head, is to traipse down those sugar-stacked checkout aisles with your eyes closed.

You won’t be tempted by the sugary stuff, and as you trip over, squash your purchases and fumble to pay, you’ll provide a hilarious interlude for the other shoppers. Everybody wins!


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.


Twitter: @xaviertoby

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