Berkeley is the First U.S. City to Ban Junk Food in Checkout Lanes

What?! How will I remember my Salted Nut Roll, Kit Kat, Doritos and Mountain Dew?

Berkley became the first U.S. city to ban junk food and candy in grocery store check-out aisles.

The "Healthy Checkout Ordinance" was unanimously approved Tuesday by Berkeley's City Council and the new rule would go into effect March of 2021. It will affect at least 25 retailers in Berkeley. These include Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens and Safeway.


Stores over 2,500 square-feet in size is required to sell at least 25 square-feet of healthy within a three-foot radius of checkout registers. So in larger grocery stores you will see fresh fruits and healthy grains instead of high calorie items. Only food items with no more than 5 grams of added sugars or 250 milligrams of sodium per serving would be allowed.


Who put it the junk food there in the first place? Turns out the idea of placing candy and junk food at the check-out aisle can possibly be traced back to Hawkins Stern, an economist who worked at the Stanford Research Institute in Southern California. Stern spent time analyzing consumer behavior and in1952 he published a paper called “The Significance of Impulse Buying Today.” AHA!

Some of Hawkins findings were:

  • Candy is seasonal
  • Candy and junk food are not items you look for every time you go to the store (* Don't know me)
  • Therefore they placed in a highly visible place
  • "Decision fatigue" meaning that willpower is like a muscle and gets fatigued with use. By the time you get to the check-out aisle you are so "fatigued" by making decisions that you give in to the "impulse purchase". Gotcha!

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content