What can South Australian supermarkets do?
You can include health and nutrition in your Corporate Responsibility Policy.
It’s important to articulate exactly what your company will do to assist customers and staff to identify and make healthier food choices when grocery shopping.
It is recommended that targets (or key performance indicators) are set and reported in annual reports, corporate responsibility reports, and on the company website. Policy areas for consideration include, but are not limited to:
Stocking of healthy, fresh produce, and processed foods that are of high quality. This includes providing adequate shelf space in prominent positions dedicated to fruit and vegetables, and healthier options in key food categories such as bread, breakfast cereals, dairy products, red meat, chicken, pork and fish.
Studies show that doubling shelf space can increase sales of that food product by 40%.
Ensure affordable prices for healthy choices in everyday staple items such as fruit, vegetables, bread, breakfast cereals, dairy products, meat, chicken, pork and fish (that do not compromise the supplier).
Offer regular promotions of healthy foods and beverages, especially vegetables and fruit, in prominent store positions (including end of aisle and eye level). A recent New Zealand study showed that less healthy beverages were discounted more often than more healthy beverages (milk, water). Supermarkets could set targets on the number or percentage of healthy food promotions they will run per month or per campaign.
Some great ideas for in-store promotion of fruit and vegetables include:
- ensuring quality fruit and vegetables on display with weekly or fortnightly promotions in prominent positions
- healthy meal solutions (for example, recipe cards) that include plenty of vegetables
- incentives for customers to buy more vegetables and fruit (fresh, frozen and tinned).
British Retailing: A Commitment to Health includes many positive case studies describing promotions and strategies being undertaken by leading UK supermarkets to increase consumption of healthier foods.
For example, fruit and vegetable promotions in Tesco supermarkets increased fruit and veg sales by 8%. Practical information was also provided to help consumers understand what a portion of fruit looks like. Tesco also ran a promotional campaign with over 200 promotions on fresh produce, fish, whole foods and Healthy Living products.
Product reformulation to make private label foods healthier
Reformulation means modifying the nutrient profile of processed food and beverages (as appropriate to the product) to be:
- lower in saturated and trans fat, salt, and sugar
- higher in fibre, vegetables, wholegrains and fruit content.
This is particularly important for the common food categories that most people buy, such as bread, breakfast cereals, crackers, tinned vegetables and fruit, dairy products, fresh, and processed meats (for example, lean fresh cuts), tinned fish and legumes, margarine and oils, soups, simmer sauces, savoury pie categories, savoury crackers, noodles and condiments.
For supermarkets and food manufacturers interested in reformulating their products, contact the Dietitians in the Health Promotion Branch, SA Health, telephone: (08) 8226 6329.
Consumer nutrition education strategies
Your Corporate Responsibility Policy should outline to customers what the supermarket does to assist them in making healthy choices. This may include, but is not limited to:
- provision of practical, easy-to-understand nutrition information, meal solutions, meal preparation and storage information in store and on the company website
- nutrition education information to assist consumers buy and prepare healthy meals could include:
- healthy recipes (including shopping and cooking on a budget)*
- healthy eating information*
- healthy cooking tips*
- healthy meal plans for families, singles, older people, and those on a tight budget*
- tips for storing fruit and vegetables
- ask a nutritionist*
- nutrition information about the company’s private label products and annual reformulation commitments to improve their nutritional value.
*These topics should be provided and approved by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.
Prompts for healthier choices, for example shopping basket or trolley inserts with key nutrition messages such as:
- Go for 2&5®
- what is a serve of vegetables and fruit?
- choose low fat dairy products
- choose lean meats
- in-store demonstrations and promotions of healthy meals in conjunction with demonstrators from food companies with recipes approved by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.
What can i do as a customer?
Supermarkets do tailor their product range in response to local requests and feedback.
Give feedback to your supermarket manager on the things they are already doing, or the things you would like to see in their store, that make it easier for you to locate and buy healthier foods and drinks for you and your family.
You can do this via in-store feedback forms, asking to speak to the store manager directly, or writing to the store manager via email or post. Tell your store manager about the great ideas on this webpage and the important role their store can play in helping South Australians in their local area eat more healthily.
Shop as healthily as you can
Visit our ‘healthy eating tips’ section for more helpful advice and ideas.
Encouragement to purchase healthy food products, particularly vegetables and fruit (e.g. loyalty scheme promotions, discounts and specials).
Junk food free checkout aisles
Supermarkets can consider having at least a minimum number of checkouts free of ‘junk foods’ such as confectionery, sugary soft drinks, and salty snack foods. These foods are high in kilojoules and poor in nutrients. Australian parent advocacy group The Parent's Voice has a healthy checkouts campaign calling for 50% of supermarket checkouts and their immediate vicinity, to be free from the sale of all junk food products.
The Confectionery-free Policy of UK supermarket Sainsbury’s requires that stores do not have confectionery at their main store checkouts, except at Easter and Christmas.