‘Promotions fuel obesity and waste’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food supply chain, Food, Nutrition

People are consuming the 'wrong calories' - tempted by supermarket promotions, which encourage shoppers to buy more food than they need, said Julian Wild
People are consuming the 'wrong calories' - tempted by supermarket promotions, which encourage shoppers to buy more food than they need, said Julian Wild
Supermarket promotions tempt shoppers to buy more food than they need, which helps to fuel both obesity and waste, delegates to Fengrain’s conference near Peterborough were told recently.

Julian Wild, head of food group at law firm Rollits, said: “If you have constant bogofs ​[buy-one-get-one-free], you shouldn’t be too surprised if the country is obese and we have a lot of food waste.”

Tim Smith, Tesco technical director, said the retailer was considering the impact of promotional techniques on food consumption. The retailer was reviewing “the health component of what we sell” and balancing food choice with the challenge of minimising food waste.

“Consumers are very clear about what they want in terms of price range and quality,”​ he continued.

‘Important part of our future’

“We have been equally clear about how we think we should provide that. Part of what we are changing has to include thinking about portion size, and thinking about labelling and promotional techniques that might, inadvertently or not, create a world in which people are consuming some of the wrong calories. So, it is an important part of our future.”

Wild said the really surprising thing about the horsemeat crisis was that the retailers were so surprised by it. “I don’t think the public were that surprised,”​ said Wild. “If you sell four burgers for 99p, you shouldn’t be too surprised if it is not made up of British beef.”

Smith said the same authentication tests were applied to the Value range as to its premium Finest range.

“Genuinely, every bit of the supply chain for each of our meat products is the same,” ​said Smith. “The rigour we applied to the site that supplied us with burgers with horsemeat in was the same as that we applied to the site that supplied us with our finest range.”

Enduring legacy of the horsemeat crisis

The enduring legacy of the horsemeat crisis would be strenuous efforts to understand the food chain more clearly and build consumers’ trust in its authenticity.

“The legacy from any serious incident has to be that we understand the supply chain better. That we, as consumers, and any other part of the food supply chain, can trust the food supply chain in a way that we were not able to, and were slightly complacent about, before January 2013.”

Meanwhile, to hear Julian Wild outlining how horsegate has changed the landscape of the food industry and what impact the scandal will have on food manufacturers, watch our exclusive video.

Related topics: Ingredients, Healthy foods, Manufacturing

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