An health expert is calling for meal deals to be banned from supermarkets

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Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Whilst most of us love the opportunity to bag a discount bag of Walkers and a Diet Coke with our sandwiches at lunch time, an expert has taken a rather more cynical stance on the humble meal deal.

An obesity expert has called for meal deals to be banned from supermarkets today during a TV interview, claiming that they should be illegal.

Dr Donal O’Shea, the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) clinical lead, made the comment on NewsTalk’s The Pat Kenny Show yesterday, suggesting that they’re nothing more than a vehicle to upsell snacks to customers who wouldn’t buy them otherwise.

The HSE is a UK government agency which is responsible for encouraging regulation around workplace health and safety.

Are we soon to say goodbye to the humble meal deal? (Credit: Alamy)

Dr O’Shea’s comments come after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned recently that obesity in Europe was sky high (although, our means of measuring obesity are contested by some).

The WHO has warned that we’re currently at “epidemic proportions” of obesity, and that this was in turn causing other diseases.

During the conversation with O’Shea, Northern Irish talkshow host Kenny noted that he had been told by a listener that a sandwich and a drink in their local supermarket set them back €4.55 (£3.80).

However, adding a packet of crisps onto the purchase actually caused the price to fall to €3.99 (£3.40), thus, he claimed, incentivising people to buy more.

meal deals scrapped supermarkets

The HSE lead said meal deals were there to ‘upsell’ snacks (Credit: Alamy)

“Literally, that should be illegal,” O’Shea said in response. “The people who are in the supermarkets – the workers in the supermarkets and in the petrol stations – they’re trained to offer that special offer.

“And 70 percent of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says ‘well are you sure, it’s a good offer’.

“Then another 30 percent will say ‘ah yeah, go on’.

“They are actually trained because the industry has the stats and they know how to prompt and they know how to promote consumption.

“We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it.”

After the broadcast, social media blew up, with some frustrated listeners saying that banning meals deals would nothing nothing except punish those who relied on such discounts.

“Banning meal deals as suggested by the HSE is quite literally the dumbest idea during a cost of living crisis,” said one critic on Twitter. 

“Ppl buy them because healthy food is unaffordable if u wanna tackle obesity make good healthy food cheap! (sic)”. 

“The HSE want to ban Meal Deals in shops and supermarkets to tackle obesity….,” penned another. “Are they serious?”

“The HSE are like “you must not buy affordable meal deals because you’ll become unhealthy” but offer no other solution for people who can’t afford unprocessed and organic food that’s actually filling,” another person said on the site. “Also its a sandwich and crisps grow UP”.

Twisted has contacted the HSE for comment.