Can supermarkets help turn the tide on obesity?
New report charts the progress from a collaboration of public health bodies, charities, academics, food retailers and manufacturers which explores the role of supermarkets in helping individuals lead healthier lives
The report by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity and the Consumer Goods Forum in partnership with evaluators at the University of Oxford presents the conclusions from the first year of the collaboration's work which began in 2018. Companies involved include Pepsico, Marks and Spencer, Danone and Tesco.
The report's main findings were:
- Companies were able to influence the healthiness of consumer shopping baskets
- Impactful trials could be relatively simple and commercially sustainable
- Trials that both increase the purchase of healthier foods and decrease the purchase of less healthy foods are required to support healthier diets
- Trials using pricing and promotional tactics, increasing the availability of healthier options and some choice architecture trials have shown a significant and positive impact. Results from successful trials have resulted in:
- 13% more fruit and vegetables sold
- 72% more low sugar beans sold
- 19% fewer standard chips sold
- 22% fewer packets of confectionery sold
- Whilst there remains outstanding questions about these trials – including how long the improvements can be sustained – there is potential for companies to improve consumer health and shape consumer demand
- Not all trials were successful, and the analyses suggests that shelf labelling and social feedback tactics may not be as impactful unless paired with other changes
The full report Can Supermarkets Help Turn the Tide on Obesity? is available now on Guy's and St Thomas' Charity's website.