“Mom Creates Petition for Grocery Store Chain to Remove Candy, Junk Food from Checkout Lines” originally appeared on ABC News, and was reprinted with permission.
One Michigan mom is determined to have a supermarket chain remove candy from their checkout lines and replace “junk” with healthier foods.
Jane Kramer of Bath Township, started the initiative on Change.org in September after years of seeing candy and gossip magazines near the cashier at a local grocery chain, Meijer stores, where she shops often. Kramer became more aware of the items after she adopted her 5-year-old son, now 13, she said.
“I started noticing the product in checkout as a new parent,” Kramer, 47, told ABC News. “Before that, I didn’t really pay attention to it. After we adopted, the grocery shopping experience just changed.”
“Our only options were junk and I wanted to be able to buy a banana or carrots,” she added. “In addition to that, were all the horrible titles on the magazine covers and once [my son] learned how to read, he started asking me about that.”
Kramer currently has more than 400 signatures on her petition titled, “Ask Meijer for Healthy Checkout Aisles.” The goal is for the company to “put customer health first by removing junk food from its checkout aisles.”
Meijer has grocery stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.
Kramer is also also asking the company to pull the adult-themed tabloids from shelves so children can have access to age-appropriate literature.
She first made the requests to Meijer’s customer service department five years ago, but never received a response. Kramer called again in 2016 and was told she could not speak to anyone in corporate. That’s when she started the petition, she said.
“I thought the only way I can get people to listen is to get other people who feel the same way I do,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to work, but at least it’s raising awareness of what’s in checkout.”
“That’s the positive to this,” she added, “even if it doesn’t work.”
Kramer said she still hasn’t received a response from Meijer stores regarding her petition.
Meijer has not yet responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
Kramer said she hopes she won’t have to change grocery stores, but will consider doing so if the store doesn’t make a change.
“I like Meijer because it’s close to my house and I really like the employees,” she said. “People say, ‘Well, just go somewhere else.’ Well, I could, but I don’t want to. I get a lot of people saying, ‘Just say no to your child.’ It’s not about being a bad parent and not about saying ‘no’ to your child. I think healthy food should be the standard at checkout so that we have to work harder to eat junk food. [R]ight now, it’s too easy.”
According to the core values listed on the company website, Meijer says, “We create a safe shopping experience for our customers and offer products and services to help our customers lead healthier lives.”
Kramer wants Meijer to “stand by their values” and follow the example of grocers like Aldi, she wrote on Change.org. In January, Aldi implemented their “Healthier Checklanes” initiative, in which they replaced chocolate and candy with trail mixes, dried fruits and granola bars, according to the brand’s press release.
“I’m not trying to tell people what they should eat,” Kramer said. “With all the health issues in our country, it increases the cost of healthcare. They can do so much better, it just has to be re-imagined and supportive. I think if Meijer does it, other grocery stores will do it too.”