The time is right to phase out price promotions on unhealthy foods

Today Which? publishes data on price promotions in supermarkets, which re-emphasises what we know: the majority of price promotions are on less healthy foods.

Which? also surveyed Scots and found that 53% said that supermarkets should include more healthier choices in promotions to make it easier for people to choose healthier food.

Which? is calling for retailers in Scotland to include more healthier options in their price promotions.  Obesity Action Scotland supports this call for action but believes that this has to be through a regulatory framework rather than a voluntary arrangement.

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead for Obesity Action Scotland said “We know that price promotions influence what people buy in the shops and we are delighted to see Which? calling for retailers to take action.  We support that call but we believe it needs a regulatory framework to be introduced to phase out price promotions on unhealthy foods.  The House of Commons Select Committee recently heard evidence that price promotions have already been explored through voluntary agreements and no progress had been made due to business competitiveness.  The Committee concluded that mandatory measures were needed.”

Lorraine continued ”Earlier this year Food Standards Scotland indicated they would be undertaking work to explore how regulation could be applied in this area.  We would call on the Scottish Government to include regulation on price promotions as a key part of the diet and obesity strategy it committed to in its recent manifesto.”

Obesity Action Scotland are calling for a package of measures to create a food environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice.  These include:

  restricting marketing and promotions of unhealthy foods

  reducing sugar and fat content of foods

  pricing measures such as a sugar tax

  improving labelling and portion sizes of foods bought in shops and restaurants