Monday, 26 July 2010

British Retail Consortium

I had a very useful discussion with this body - thanks Andrea and Alison.

It focussed on healthy eating and labelling.

I have always taken a rather paternalistic line on this. I believe that we do need a system that is clear to consumers on the amount of fat and salt etc in foods. Different supermarkets operate in different ways. Sainsbury's go for the traffic light system, and this has certainly resulted in switches to healthier options. Others like Marks and Spencer specify what percentage of the GDA (guideline daily amount) the salt, fat etc is. This too has shown changes by consumers to healthier options. Probably there is no need for prescriptive regulation on this.

The Consortium has also had success in that members like the large supermarkets, Burger King and McDonalds have been reducing salt and saturated fats in products.

Labelling is important. So too is education. I recall, and not long ago either, trying to get a salad at a restaurant in the Valleys. The response was not encouraging.

School meals and those at hospitals and care homes too need to reflect the need for healthier content. To my mind Jamie Oliver is a national hero for pushing the agenda on this.

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