At least one-third of products on special offer in supermarkets are high in fat, sugar and salt, new research by Safefood has found.
According to the findings, 35% of special offers in supermarkets are high in fat, sugar and salt, while in convenience stores, this figure jumps to 56%.
The research looked at almost 70,000 food products that were on special offer in 59 supermarkets, 46 convenience stores and 10 discount stores. It also involved interviews with retailers and shoppers and a consumer survey.
It found that price reductions and multi-buys are the most common type of price promotion.
It noted that the vast majority of promotional offers - 85% - were located in standard shopping aisles alongside regularly priced products, rather than being placed at the end of the aisle or on special promotional stands.
Meanwhile, the research also found that consumers want to see fewer promotions on things like biscuits, confectionary and sugary drinks. They would rather more promotions on fruit and vegetables, fresh meat and fish.
"These results highlight that people really don't want to be tempted by unhealthy food offers, they'd much rather see healthy foods, and particularly fruit and vegetables, on special offer," commented Dr Marian O'Reilly, chief specialist in nutrition at Safefood.
She pointed out that ‘everybody loves a bargain' and shoppers often use promotional offers to help manage their household budget.
"But with more than a third of foods on offer being unhealthy, it's not surprising that last year, data showed that the average household with children spend more on ‘treat' foods (19% spend) than on fruit (10%) and vegetables (7%)," she said.
The findings were released to coincide with a new campaign from Safefood - Transform Your Trolley. It aims to encourage people to re-balance their shopping habits and transform their trolleys into healthier ones.
The campaign, which forms part of Safefood's sponsorship of RTE's Operation Transformation, includes practical tips and strategies to help with food shopping.
"This research reveals just how hard it is for people to make healthier choices when these unhealthy offers are literally everywhere. Tips like making a list, being more aware of these promotions and having a plan for your meals and snacks are all great places to start," commented registered dietitian with Operations Transformation, Aoife Hearne.
For more information on the campaign, including tips for when you are shopping, click here.