Sainsbury’s receives backlash over products placed in new ‘wellness’ aisle

Sainsbury's has been criticised by customers for featuring certain items in their 'wellness 'aisles.

Sainsbury’s has received backlash from disappointed shoppers after it was noticed that unhealthy food items were included on the shelves of its stores’ new ‘wellness’ aisles.

The UK’s second largest supermarket introduced wellness hubs in seven of its major shops in November 2018, and they have been placed in stores underneath the description, ‘Wellness & Sports Nutrition’

One particular aisle, however, received a rather unsavoury reaction when food writer Bee Wilson visited a Sainsbury’s store in Cambridge and pointed out several products, including sugary biscuits and slimming shakes.

Taking a picture of the biscuits and protein bars included in the wellness aisle and posting it to Twitter, Wilson wrote:

‘This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes.’

She shared her disillusionment at the store’s wellness product range by suggesting it reflects ‘the madness of our food culture all in one aisle.’

Many other Twitter users also took issue with the product range, including 2012 winner of The Great British Bake Off, John Whaite, who replied to Wilson’s tweet to emphasise his own dismay at her discovery, simply stating: ‘This is INSANE’

Wilson, author of First Bite: How We Learn To Eat, received several replies from concerned consumers who were also keen to chime in on the debate.

One user wrote: I’ve been saying this for years. We need to teach children about nutrition, how to cook etc. if we have any chance of creating adults that don’t want to exist on fast food and sugary snacks.’

Another expressed their disdain at the presence of processed foods in place of fresh products:

‘It seems @sainsbury’s has confused wellness with advertising hype. I’m always disgusted to see so much overpriced and ultra-processed rubbish sold as healthy. Sports nutrition is another hype word. The nutrition for sport is three good meals a day, a few healthy snacks and water!’

And one user referred to the move as ‘shameful’, writing: ‘It’s shameful that a leading supermarket, one who is thought of as being trustworthy, should use the term “wellness” to promote the opposite for commercial reasons.’

A representative for Sainsbury’s released a statement in light of the criticism, saying that the incident was a misunderstanding as some products placed in the wellness aisle were ‘not part of the Wellness and Sports Nutrition Range.

The representative also commented that Sainsbury’s will be ‘adding an extra sign to make this clearer for customers.’