Food retailers ‘succeeding in the battle against obesity’

British Retail Consortium report shows initiatives such as portion sizes and labelling are working.

Food retailers from Asda to Burger King are helping win the fight against obesity, according to a new dossier from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC says its “substantial catalogue of evidence” shows its members’ healthy lifestyle promotional efforts are getting the message across to consumers “more effectively than any law ever could”.

The report, British Retailing: A Commitment to Health, is the third on the topic from the BRC in the past six years designed to promote its members’ investment in encouraging healthy choices.

The BRC describes it as its “answer to all the critics”, such as pressure groups including Which?, and an opportunity to showcase all the positive progress being made by its members.

Initiatives by the likes of the Co-operative Group, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose are also included in the report.

It highlights progress in areas such as portion sizes and nutrition information on menus.

Speaking at the launch event, public health minister Dawn Primarolo praised initiatives such as portion sizes and nutrition information on menus, but, perhaps significantly, did not comment on the ongoing debate over nutrition information labelling.

“The alliance between Government and business is starting to achieve something very profound, so it is vital that we build momentum,” she said.

The Government is expected to announce its verdict on new Food Standard Agency (FSA) recommendations about nutrition Front of Pack (FOP) labelling later this year.

The BRC says the UK should wait to align its labelling regime with a system expected to be recommended by a European Commission panel.

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