Shoppers who take advantage of promotions are 54% more likely to be obese than those who avoid them, according to a new report from Cancer Research UK.
Almost half of all purchases of chocolate, popcorn and savoury snacks are bought on promotion, the report added.
Additionally, the report found these bargain hunting shoppers – defined as those who purchase between 40-80% of their food from promotional deals – eat near 25% fewer vegetables and 30% less fruit.
The consequences of “bargain shopping” are not restricted to the individual shopper, but to whole families. Obesity was 30% more likely among households where the most food and drink was bought on promotions.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: “Promotional items offer people a wealth of tempting yet unhealthy food and drink choices when doing their weekly shop.
“With cut-price deals on things like chocolate, biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks, it’s no surprise that people who buy more on promotion have a greater likelihood of being obese.”
Bauld warned that this could go on to have a devastating effect on children in their later life.
“With young children frequently being the ones who suffer from the effects of these purchases, introducing restrictions is important for their future health.
“We know that more than one in five enter primary school overweight or obese, yet the number worsens to around one in three when they leave.”
Of course, not all food shop savings prove unhealthy. Recently, Lidl launched a £1.50 ‘wonky veg’ box – which allows consumers to purchase slightly imperfect vegetables in bulk, for a reduced price compared to usual supermarket produce.