As the government releases its new ‘Call to Action’ obesity strategy, Which? says it is ‘woefully inadequate’, calling for traffic light labelling and for more food chains to provide calorie information.
Almost a quarter of the UK population is now obese, and the cost to the NHS and the wider economy is rapidly rising.
The government has issued a calorie reduction challenge calling on the food and drink industry to play a key role – alongside government and others – in reducing the population’s calorie intake by five billion calories a day.
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: ‘The government calls on people to cut down the calories they eat, but isn’t giving them the tools to do so.’
Clear calorie labelling
He recommended the government ‘make sure front of pack traffic light labelling is used on all food products, and clear calorie labelling is provided in all food chains.’
Just last month, Which? challenged restaurants to display calorie information. Our research showed two thirds of consumers wanted calorie information on their food.
The ‘Call to Action‘ challenges the food and drink industry to ‘extend and intensify’ their efforts to help people make healthier choices.
‘Call to Action’ is naïve
Which? agrees that food and drink manufacturers must cut fat and sugar, and therefore calories, from their products and promote healthier options.
However, Richard Lloyd said ‘expecting them to do this voluntarily through a vague ‘call to action’ is naïve.’
He added: ‘We need a proper strategy which includes ambitious targets. We don’t have time for half measures.’