Lidl is removing sweets and chocolates from tills across its 600-store estate in favour of its ‘Healthy Checkouts’.

The discounter will this month remove unhealthy snacks from its checkouts, replacing them with dried fruits and nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and fruit juices.

Lidl piloted Healthy Checkouts last year and has decided to roll out the initiative. The checkouts generated 20% more footfall than conventional tills and customer research found that 70% of shoppers would pick a sweet-free checkout over a traditional one.

Lidl UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich said: “We’re the first supermarket to take such a bold step. We’re committed not only to raising awareness of the importance of balanced diets and healthy lifestyles, but also to making it easier for our customers to follow them.

“We know how difficult it can be to say no to pester power, so by removing sweets and chocolates from our tills we can make it easier for parents to reward children in healthier ways.”

The National Obesity Forum today warned that a prediction in 2007 that warned 50% of the nation would be obese by 2050 could have underestimated the scale of the problem.