CRUK highlights the obesity crisis

Today Cancer Research UK is drawing attention to the effect of multi-buy promotions of junk food in supermarkets. Price promotions across the retail sector increase the amount of food we buy by around one-fifth[i]. This extra food would not be bought if it was not for the promotions.

Multi-buy promotions are one element of the environment that promotes overeating and choosing unhealthy foods over healthy ones. Yesterday the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament announced that it supported regulatory or fiscal action to reduce price promotions on unhealthy foods.  It is now time for the Scottish Government to ensure that this becomes an integral part of the forthcoming diet and obesity strategy.

We need to reduce price promotions of unhealthy food and start promoting more healthy products. At the moment we are nudged towards unhealthy food choices every time we shop. We need to create an environment where shopping, eating and staying healthy is easier.

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead at Obesity Action Scotland said “We need to create an environment where the healthy option is the easy option when shopping or eating out.  Price promotions lead to us buying and eating more than we intended.  We need to see bold and ambitious action from the Scottish Government to tackle price, advertising and control portion size.”

We are calling for the Scottish Government’s Diet and Obesity Strategy to include the following actions for the retail and out of home sector:

  1. Regulation to tackle price promotions on unhealthy foods
  2. Restricting advertising and sponsorship associated with unhealthy food
  3. Regulations to control portion size
  4. Support for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to be implemented and monitored
  5. Support for the UK reformulation programme to be implemented and extended


[i] PHE, Sugar Reduction, The Evidence for Action, 2015