Supermarkets should play a much larger role in promoting healthy eating and tackling obesity says a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on A Fit and Healthy Childhood.

MP’s recommend that they re-balance promotions away from products that are high in fat, sugar and/or salt (HFSS) to healthier foods so that families experiencing food poverty may enjoy greater access to them and that Price discounts and promotions to be offered on healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables instead of HFSS products.

Healthy, affordable snacks that appeal to low income consumers should be represented either by stocking ‘own brand’ products or offering support to smaller businesses who already provide healthier snacks and are looking to break into this market.

Introducing their 15th Report, ‘Healthy Families: The Present and Future Role
of the Supermarket,’ APPG Chair Steve McCabe said:

”Supermarkets are often seen as the pantomime villain in a national battle against obesity and associated serious health conditions like Type 2 diabetes,heart disease and some cancers..

“The charge list against supermarkets includes nudging shoppers into unhealthy purchases to get cash tills ringing, perpetuating an obesogenic environment at odds with Government healthy eating guidelines and fuelling ‘pester power’ at the expense of cash-strapped families.”

“We show that supermarkets can take a leading role in helping to solve the obesity epidemic. They have a unique place in the hearts of UK families and it’s time for them to step up in the 21st century cause of safeguarding the health of the population and the planet.“

The Report was sponsored by ‘Slimming World’ and Jenny Caven, Director of
External Affairs said:

”We welcome this Report; in particular, the examples showing that some supermarkets are actively helping people to make healthy food and drink an accessible choice. We welcome all initiatives that promote and support healthier choices.

“However, the Report doesn’t flinch from saying that supermarkets must raise
their game.

“In 2019 research, the Health on the Shelf report published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Slimming World, exposed the marketing tactics used to drive sales of unhealthy products and revealed that supermarket layout, pricing strategies and shopping environment is helping to fuel the obesity epidemic.

“Our report also revealed that over one third (36%) 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. This new APPG Report shows that this need not be the end of the story and that better and healthier trading could be both beneficial for our national health and profitable in the long term.”


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