Unhealthy impact of food system dominated by handful of big supermarkets

Mark Ruskell MSP, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (4 Aug) backed calls for action on supermarkets after research showed that they have more promotions on less healthy food and drink.

Consumer watchdog Which? looked at over 77,000 supermarket promotions. It found that half of confectionery was on offer compared to only around a third of fresh fruit and vegetables. Seven in ten soft drinks with high sugar content were also on promotion.

Which? reports that most Scots surveyed want supermarkets to include healthier choices in promotions, make healthier options cheaper and make foods with less fat, sugar and salt.

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"Our food system is dominated by a handful of big supermarket chains, and these figures show the unhealthy impact their promotions are having. There's simply no excuse not to promote good, balanced food as Scotland is an abundant producer of healthy food and drink.

"To date the Scottish Government have been reluctant to challenge the big retailers. Given the impact on public health, we cannot allow supermarkets to keep pushing what might be good for their profits but leaves us and our NHS paying the price. 

"Smart retailers know that the public want healthy options and have adapted their offers. It seems the big outlets haven't quite got the message, so it's time the Scottish Parliament explored options for addressing this serious issue."