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Why This Supermarket’s ‘Wellness Aisle’ Is Being Called Out

After the festive excess of December, January is when we tend to reach peak wellness. This year’s wellness trends include everything from “workplace wellness” to “eco-friendly, socially conscious wellness”.

But the trouble with “wellness” is that because it’s such a wide-reaching term, it can be misunderstood and sometimes even misused – just look at this list of ridiculous wellness fads from 2018.

Seeking to capitalise on customers’ January health kicks, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, has introduced “wellness” hubs in seven of its stores.

“Wellness and sports nutrition are areas that are becoming increasingly popular with our customers,” Sainsbury’s food commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks said in a statement.

“To make sure they can find everything they need quickly and easily, we’ve doubled our range, introducing specialist and premium brands that customers won’t find in any other stores. With such a convenient choice of distinctive products, we’re confident that health-conscious customers won’t need to shop anywhere else.”

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However, food writer Bee Wilson was unimpressed when she visited one of the new “wellness hubs” at a Sainsbury’s store in Cambridge. Its product range, she tweeted, encapsulates “the madness of our food culture all in one aisle”.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Bee Wilson@KitchenBee

This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.1,96005:18 – 2 Jan 2019729 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads information and privacy

Wilson isn’t the only customer dismayed by the contents of the wellness aisle, which former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite branded “insane”.

kfo girl@whiterose52

@sainsburys your new wellness aisle in the Cambridge store is a joke. There is nothing healthy in that aisle. Just sugar and chemicals. Shameful!!17:27 – 3 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee kfo girl’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

Bee Wilson@KitchenBee · 2 Jan 2019

This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

londonisforlife@londonisforlife

It’s fraudulent to claim these products are healthy. I suppose wellness is not clearly defined so they can get away with it but supermarkets are complicit in this misleading shitshow.1612:22 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee londonisforlife’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

Carolyn@CarolynPorretta

@sainsburys please help people eat healthily – or at least don’t tell them that processed food is good for them by using words like « wellness » which can be misleading #HealthyEatingBee Wilson@KitchenBeeThis is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.18:18 – 3 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Carolyn’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

Georgine Leung@georginechikchi

Interesting wellness is coupled with sports nutrition, but most of us don’t need to eat like athletes…?! And all those claims on bodily functions…Bee Wilson@KitchenBeeThis is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.921:00 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Georgine Leung’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

Bee Wilson@KitchenBee · 2 Jan 2019

This is depressing. A new ‘wellness’ aisle in Sainsbury’s, Cambridge. Contents: sugary biscuits, protein bars, organic cola drinks, slimming shakes. The madness of our food culture all in one aisle.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Rachel Hadden@RachelHadden

I suspect a true wellness supermarket aisle would closely aligned with a plastic-free aisle #realfood #plasticfree318:34 – 2 Jan 2019Twitter Ads information and privacySee Rachel Hadden’s other TweetsTwitter Ads information and privacy

Following this criticism, a representative for Sainsbury’s has said that some products pictured in the wellness aisle aren’t supposed to be part of its “wellness and sports nutrition” range.

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The representative told Refinery29: “For your background, the trial is in seven stores in total. In one store only, some cereal bars are at the end of the aisle – these are not part of the Wellness and Sports Nutrition range, which has different fixtures and displays. We will be adding an extra sign to make this clearer for our customers.”

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From: Refinery 29 UK