Temptation at Checkout

The Food Industry’s Sneaky Strategy for Selling More


CSPI’s powerful new report, Temptation at Checkout: The Food Industry’s Sneaky Strategy for Selling More, examines how retail marketing manipulates food choices. The report makes the case that with high rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, the retail environment should be shaped not only by economic drivers but also by public health considerations.

The report proposes that addressing the retail food environment begins with checkout, where the vast majority of purchases are unplanned. By rethinking checkout, retailers could support their customers’ health, rather than pushing the consumption of extra―and often unwanted―calories from candy, soda, and other junk food and sugary drinks.

Temptation at Checkout profiles examples of healthy checkout projects across the country and overseas, and presents the following recommendations: 

  • Supermarkets and other stores that sell food, like Target, Walmart, and 7-Eleven, should adopt food and nutrition standards for checkout, selling only non-food and healthier food and beverage options there.
  • Non‐food stores should remove food and beverages from checkout.
  • Like food manufacturers have agreed to policies on food marketing to children, they should voluntarily agree not to use placement fees to induce retailers to place unhealthy foods and beverages at checkout.
  • Policymakers should implement policies that set nutrition standards for retail checkout, addressing impulse marketing of foods that increase the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Health departments, other government agencies, hospitals, and other institutions should adopt healthy checkout policies for the properties they own or manage.
  • Individuals should urge retailers and policymakers to remove unhealthy foods and beverages at the checkout line.

For a PDF of the full report, click here.
For the report’s Executive Summary, click here.

Take action! 

Click here to ask Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares to remove food and beverages from Bed Bath & Beyond checkout aisles.