Why last-minute checkout treats may soon be a thing of the past

Estelle Griepink

A report card has been handed down for the four major supermarkets on their promotion of healthy food and the results haven't exactly given them the big tick of approval.

The poor outcomes have prompted calls to ban lollies at the checkout and to cut down on advertising of junk food.

Mum Nicole French tries to shop healthily when she goes to the supermarket, but admits that the confectionery aisles can be a distraction.

Shoppers can get easily distracted from healthy eating by rows and rows of confectionery. Source: 7 News

"Those chips and chocolates ... they're the ones that are put front of face, and so they become front of mind," she says.

It's why a new report is calling for the removal of lollies and soft drinks from checkouts and improvements in the nutritional value of home-brand products.

Deakin University researchers also scored supermarkets based on their obesity and nutrition policies, and there were no clear winners.

There were no clear winners in this Deakin University supermarket survey. Source: 7 News

Woolworths was the highest ranked, with 45 points out of 100.

Coles wasn't far behind with 40 points, but Aldi and IGA struggled with scores of just 11 and eight out of 100.

Coles said the report did not take note of its Sports for Schools program, while Aldi and IGA accused the researchers of not fully reflecting their policies and labelling practices.

Woolworths performed best on the health front, with Coles coming in second. Source: 7 News

Despite the low scores across the board, the Deakin University report did acknowledge supermarkets were taking some positive steps, like the free fruit for kids program at Woolworths.

Coles and Woolworths' commitment to the use of national health star ratings on their own brand products also scored a tick.

But with one in four Victorian children now overweight or obese, experts say there is still plenty of room for improvement.