When companies take responsibility for public health and are more ambitious in their attempts to improve it, they can have a positive impact
As nutrition consultants working with food companies to improve the healthiness of the food environment, we’re encouraged to see a small but growing number of businesses acknowledge their important role in addressing obesity and promoting public health.
Many however, still seem to see nutrition and health as a marketing tool and a way to secure profits. This, we expect will change as more businesses discover there is plenty more to be gained by putting consumer health at the heart of what they do.
A recent study into supermarket marketing practices shows the food industry can help people to eat better and still be profitable.
The Collaboration for Healthier Lives UK (CHL UK), a partnership between food manufacturers, supermarkets, public health experts and academics, tested how different marketing techniques could affect the healthiness of consumers’ shopping trolleys.
They found that changes to price, promotional tactics, making healthier options available and using choice architecture, all had a positive impact on what foods people buy.
Looking to the future, the authors concluded:
- Collaboration between food manufacturers and supermarkets can encourage people to eat better. They just need to be committed to public health and be more ambitious in their attempts to improve it.
- Greater regulation is needed to raise the bar. Creating a more level playing field would also reduce the commercial risk for progressive businesses who want to do the right thing.
Read the full report here