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Obesity Alliance Cymru welcome proposals to create a Healthier Food Environment in Wales

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Obesity Alliance Cymru, a coalition of over 20 organisations, have welcomed new proposals to help people make healthier choices in Wales.

In Wales 66% of men, 56% of women and 27% of children are living with overweight and obesity. If current trends continue overweight and obesity will cost the NHS in Wales £465 million by 2050. 

New Welsh government proposals will help people to make healthier choices through rebalancing promotions on the unhealthiest foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and ensuring consumers are not bombarded with promotional offers on the unhealthiest foods in supermarkets, for example at the end of aisles and checkouts.

Products that are high in fat, sugar or salt tend to be more heavily promoted and given higher prominence in stores. This encourages unplanned impulse buys, with people buying, consuming and spending more on unhealthy foods than they intended.

Research by the University of Cambridge found that restrictions on placing sweets and confectionary at checkouts led to an immediate 17% reduction in purchases, with shoppers still purchasing over 15% fewer items compared to when no policy was in place.   

Gemma Roberts, Co-Chair of Obesity Alliance Cymru said:

“It is hard to make healthy choices in a supermarket when everywhere you turn you see unhealthy food, like at the end of aisles or by the checkout. Limiting these displays will level the playing field and make healthy choices easier”.

Price promotions do not save consumers money. Items bought on promotion are usually unplanned purchases causing each household to spend an additional 22% on average - an extra £774.69 per household, per year.   

Restricting price promotions on unhealthy foods will not ban any product or type of promotion, the aim is to rebalance the food environment towards healthier products, so that the healthy choice becomes the easy choice. 

Gemma continued:

“We may walk into the supermarket with the best intentions but are faced with promotions which are designed to convince us to impulse buy unhealthy foods. The balance of price promotions needs to shift towards healthier foods and core staples – which will actually save people money!”

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