The new report, Health on the Shelf published by RSPH and Slimming World, exposes the marketing tactics used to drive sales of unhealthy products and reveals that supermarket layout, pricing strategies and shopping environment is fuelling the obesity epidemic.

The report is published in advance of the Government’s expected response to the consultation on layout and price promotions.

The report also reveals that over one third of shoppers reported that they impulse purchase unhealthy products because they are on special offer, and one in five say supermarkets cause them to go off track when attempting to lose weight.

An audit of small, ‘local’ style supermarkets found that many unhealthy products such as confectionary and crisps are located in multiple prominent areas around the store, including at the end of aisles and around the checkout. RSPH and Slimming World are now calling for government and industry to do more to support supermarkets in encouraging healthier choices to consumers.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said: “The environment in which we live is a major contributor towards obesity, and supermarkets have both the power and influence as well as a responsibility in tackling their contribution to this “obesogenic” environment. There has been some progress by supermarkets in areas such as removing junk from check outs, but our research shows that shoppers and industry experts feel there is much more supermarkets can and should do to promote healthier choices – reducing the shelf allocation for unhealthy products, providing clearer labelling and signage and even changing the shopper experience. We wanted to practically show what this new approach could look like, by unveiling the UK’s first supermarket designed by public health experts.

“Alongside Slimming World, we are calling on the government to commit to legislation to support supermarkets in promoting healthier choices through legislation. If we change the environment we can encourage healthier choices for all.”


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