Supermarkets are offering too many promotions for fatty or sugary foods according to the National Consumer Council (NCC).
The NCC went into all eight major chains and found over half of promotions were for unhealthy foods, which was double the level seen in 2006.
The NCC said the increase showed how far supermarkets would go to attract customers during the credit crunch. It rated each on promotions, the salt content of own-brand foods, nutrition labelling, the prevalence of sweets at check-outs and the healthy eating information and advice available.
“Increasing the promotion of unhealthy foods in supermarkets clearly fuels the ticking time-bomb of obesity in this country," said Saranjit Sihota, Head of Public Policy at Diabetes UK.
“Inevitably low-income families, who are already likely to be affected by such promotions, are the most at risk of becoming obese and developing Type 2 diabetes. "Supermarkets should promote foods more responsibly and play their part in helping the nation to make healthier choices, particularly during difficult times."
Importance of healthy diet
She added: “We already know that 80 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis. Furthermore, losing weight can reduce a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 57 per cent.
“Diabetes UK recommends a healthy, balanced diet low in fat, salt and sugar with plenty of fruit and vegetables."
However, the British Retail Consortium said the snapshot survey carried out in March was unrepresentative.