RICHARD ORD: The etiquette of biscuit gorging

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TESCO is to withdraw confectionery from the checkout.

Word is that from now on, sweets in the supermarket are to be tied with brightly-coloured ribbons and dangled from silver balloons floating above the aisles.

That should deter the kids.

The move to keep sweets away from the tills, we’re being told, is to help customers make healthier choices.

Why don’t they go the whole hog and hide them?

“Excuse me, can you tell me where you keep the Mars bars?”

“Certainly, sir, you go out the building, over the car park, and when you get to that big tree near the bus shelter, well, all I can say is you’ll be getting warmer. And here, you’ll need this shovel.”

Tesco is a shop. It’s meant to sell things we want. And put them where we can get them.

Removing chocolate from a child’s eye-level is not going to help them, or us, make healthier choices.

In our house, we keep chocolate biscuits and sweets in a plastic box on the top shelf in a cupboard in our kitchen.

I’ll often walk into the kitchen to find our Isaac, aged 10, clambering onto the kitchen bench so he can raid the ‘treat box’.

To me, the energy he expends climbing is part of a calorie-controlled diet. As is the 100 metre, calorie-burning dash he has to make as I try to catch him to wrestle the Blue Riband from his mitts.

Kids, of course, need to be sweet smart. Both of our boys, Isaac and his brother Bradley, 13, obey certain rules of confectionery theft. For example, they know they will be caught out if they are the ones who open a packet of biscuits.

Once the packet has been opened, however, it’s all fair game. They descend like locusts.

An opened packet of biscuits will barely last a day. That said, they will always leave one biscuit in the packet. Taking the last one is as bad as opening the packet without permission.

Ask our two “who ate all the biscuits?” and the response will be the innocent cry of “I only had one. Why? Aren’t there still some left?”

“There’s only one left!”

Child: “Can I have it?”

Tesco’s announcement comes in the same week that campaign groups have called on governments to use obesity warnings and graphic images on the side of fatty foods, in much the same way as they do with cigarettes. Like that’s going to work.

I mean, would you be put off a custard cream if there were a warning attached to the packet complete with a photo of Vanessa Feltz (circa 2009) in a swimsuit?

Actually, come to think of it, I probably would be put off.

That said, I don’t hold much truck with the argument that people are swayed by ‘harmful’ images.

We’re forever being told that the proliferation of attractive super-thin models gracing the pages of magazines and advertising posters is putting too much pressure on the young to be “perfect”.

If that’s so, how come we’re in the middle of an obesity crisis?

Not enough supermodel pressure is being applied.

If you ask me, we need more scantily-clad slim beauties in the media.

And I say that purely for the sake of our nation’s health. Chocolate HobNob anyone?