A supermarket chain in Britain is replacing its entire fleet of shopping trolleys because consumers are getting taller, it emerged today.
Sainsbury’s is introducing new trolleys with raised handles to make pushing them more comfortable for bigger customers.
The move also recognises that more men – who are often taller than women – now do the weekly shop, according to Sainsbury’s.
A study published in September this year found the typical British woman is 1.5in (4cm) taller than her counterpart in the 1950s.
Experts from University College London and the London College of Fashion took more than 1.5 million measurements from 11,000 people in 2001 and 2002.
It discovered the average woman was 5ft 4.5in (163cm) tall – compared with 5ft 3in (159cm) when a similar study was conducted in the 1950s.
British men now stand 5ft 9.5in (177cm) tall, according to the UK National Sizing Survey.
Comparative figures are not available for the 1950s, although it is assumed men have grown along with women.
Trolleys in the current fleet at Sainsbury’s have a handle across the back measuring 40in (102cm) from the ground.
The new model has been designed with an “ergonomic” handle which is 0.4in (1cm) higher across the back but curves up at either end to a height of 45in (114cm).
The higher sections of the handle are supposed to make it more comfortable to push for shoppers 6ft (183cm) tall or more.
Sainsbury’s has ordered more than 280,000 of the new trolleys to be delivered to its stores over the next five years.
Fiona Eden, the chain’s trolley buyer, said: “There’s no doubt that more of our customers are now built like John Wayne rather than Ronnie Corbett.
“The average British shopper is getting taller so we need to change our shopping trolleys to reflect this change.
“Tall people need to have higher handles to be able to push a fully laden trolley ergonomically, so we’ve tailored the new model to take this into account.”
She added: “Part of the change in customer size may be explained by the fact that more men are now doing the weekly shopping, and they’re naturally taller than women.”
The new trolley has been designed by Symonds Hydroclean, based in Newport, Gwent.
It said the replacement also came with “easy-rolling castors” to combat trolley-wobble.