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Stores "needed in health fight"

The government needs to harness the power of supermarkets if it is to improve the UK's overall health, a new report claims.

According to the Sustainable Development Commission, (SDC), supermarkets' healthy eating messages are often drowned out by promotions for more unhealthy food.

The report also said new labelling systems on food, which are supposed to distinguish those that are high fat from those that are healthy, are confusing customers because retailers have adopted different strategies.

The SDC added that despite moves by the Food Standards Agency, fatty, sugary and salty foods were still being over-produced, while healthy eating messages are not communicated properly.

The report also raised concerns that unhealthy foods are viewed as being cheap, while healthy food is rated by many consumers as too expensive.

SDC commissioner Professor Tim Lang said: "Given the enormous influence wielded by supermarkets, working with them effectively is essential.

"In fact, our research with supermarkets has shown that in (some) areas, they are often frustrated by the lack of clarity or long-term strategy on which they can plan for the future."

Sustainable Development Commission

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