Supermarkets say they want to make it easier to choose healthy food, but no supermarket is really doing it. This is the conclusion of four health funds that commissioned research into the supply of healthy food in supermarkets.
About 70 percent of our daily food comes from a supermarket. Supermarkets thus have a major influence on our diet, say the Diabetes Fund, the Heart Foundation, the Maag Lever Darm Foundation and the Kidney Foundation.
To make it easier for consumers, they had a “Super Health 2020 List” drawn up for the first time. There is still a lot to improve, is the conclusion.
National Prevention Agreement
In 2018, the supermarkets concluded the National Prevention Agreement with the government. The aim was to improve the health of all Dutch people. It was agreed that supermarkets would encourage their customers to eat more according to the Schijf van Vijf.
The research that the funds commissioned looked at, among other things, the shop design, offers in the brochures and the offer at the cash registers. “82 percent of the offer in the leaflets is for unhealthy food,” said spokesman Caroline Martens on behalf of the health funds in the NOS Radio 1 News. “Seven of the eight supermarkets have unhealthy impulse purchases at the checkouts. All supermarkets are doing something right, but improvements are possible in all supermarkets.”
Not a winner
They therefore do not want to speak of a winner. Ekoplaza still lives up to its promise that it wants to stimulate the sale of healthy food, but the researchers prefer to speak of a “forerunner” than a winner.
Other precursors are Lidl, Dirk and Coop. In the ranking, Jumbo is the only one listed as “middle driver”. “Stragglers” are Plus, Aldi and last but not least Albert Heijn.
The health organizations want to know from State Secretary Blokhuis how he will keep supermarkets to the agreements in the National Prevention Agreement.
Blokhuis says he shares the concerns of the health funds. “More needs to be done to make healthy choice in supermarkets easier.” He wants all parties who have signed the agreement to stick to the agreements.
In order to get a “clear picture” of what he can do extra against obesity, he asked RIVM which additional agreements can be made, in addition to the agreements in the prevention agreement.
The Central Bureau for Food Trade, the sector organization for supermarkets, says in de Volkskrant that the study ignores the progress that has been made over the past fifteen years. “They opt for the half-full glass with a layer of vinegar on top,” says CBL director Marc Jansen.
In November Blokhuis will meet with supermarkets and health funds. He then wants to discuss the outcome of the investigation with them and hear how the parties will honor their agreements.