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Which? report urges supermarkets to take action against obesity

| International retailers

A report published by retail comparison company Which? has found that the UK’s largest supermarkets are focusing their promotions disproportionately on unhealthy products.

The study looked at the price promotions of Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado. It found that over half of the special offers of these leading retailers focused on products with high sugar, salt and fat content.

Fifty-two per cent of confectionary items were featured in special offers between April and June, whereas around a third of fruit and vegetables were featured in the same time frame.

The most promoted items across the six supermarkets featured in the study were frozen chips and potatoes at 78 per cent, and pizza at 70 per cent. This contrasts sharply with the least promoted items fish, meat and seafood at 32 per cent.

“It is time for supermarkets to shift the balance of products they include in price promotions and for all retailers to get rid of temptation at the till by taking sweets off the checkout,” Alex Neil the director of campaigns at Which? said.

Supermarkets have hit back at the findings of the study amidst the recent escalating price wars between the big four and continued efforts to absorb the price changes during the economic turbulence.

A spokesman for Tesco has hit back at Neil saying: “In order to help customers make healthier choices and help them to waste less food, we’re reducing the number of foods on promotion and moving to simple, everyday low prices on a wide range of fresh, healthy products. We’re also reformulating many of our products to include less salt, fat and sugar, and in 2014 became the first major supermarket to remove sweets from our checkouts.”

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