Supermarkets ‘must join fight against obesity’

Retail backing essential
Retail backing essential

A consumer group has called on supermarkets to play their part in the fight against obesity after finding that more than half of offers were on less healthy foods.

Some 53% of the 77,165 promotions at major supermarkets between April and June were on less healthy foods - those high in fat, saturates, sugar or salt - according to mySupermarket data analysed by Which?

Which? looked at promotions at Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, finding that offers on unhealthy food varied between 52% and 55%.

The consumer champion categorised any product with a red traffic light label for fat, saturates, sugars or salt as less healthy - unless an item scored a red for fat and a green for saturated fat - and automatically counted fresh, unprocessed fruit and vegetables as healthier.

Which? found that 52% of confectionery was on offer compared with 30% of fresh fruit and 34% of vegetables.

About seven in 10 soft drinks (69%) that would fall under the higher sugar band category, containing more than 8% sugar, under the Government’s planned sugar tax were also on promotion.

A separate survey by Which? found 29% of consumers said they thought healthier food was more expensive, giving it as the main reason for not having a healthier diet.

Just over half of those polled (51%) said supermarkets should offer more healthy food choices in promotions, naming it as the top action they wanted from retailers, followed by making healthier options cheaper (49%) and making foods with less fat, sugar and salt (49%).