Tesco will remove chocolate and sweets from its checkouts across all stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of this year, in a move it claims is a UK first.

The move follows research which found nearly two-thirds (65%) of customers said removing confectionery from checkouts would help them make healthier choices when shopping.

Tesco removed sweets and chocolates from checkouts at larger Tesco stores 20 years ago, but it will now remove them from all stores including Metro and Express convenience shops.

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said: “We all know how easy it is to be tempted by sugary snacks at the checkout, and we want to help our customers lead healthier lives.

“We’ve already removed billions of calories from our soft drinks, sandwiches and ready meal ranges by changing the recipes to reduce their sugar, salt and fat content. And we will continue to look for opportunities to take out more.

“We’re doing this now because our customers have told us that removing sweets and chocolates from checkouts will help them make healthier choices.”

Tesco will trial a variety of healthier products at checkouts for the rest of this year before removing all confectionery by the end of December.

The move comes as Tesco publishes its second Tesco and Society report, detailing its progress against three ambitions – improving health, reducing food waste and creating opportunities.