Lidl GB recently announced a new healthy food commitment called the ‘Healthy Eating Pledge,’ which its CEO, Christian Härtnagel, says is the discounter’s most ambitious target yet. The initiative aims to encourage healthier diets and increase sales of nutritional products to 85% or more of total sales by 2025, based on tonnage volume.
Lidl’s specialist nutrition teams developed a nutrient profiling system (NPS) to measure the healthy level of foods. The NPS is based on Public Health England’s nutrient criteria for front-of-pack traffic light labeling, which focuses on fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt quantity, ranking all products as healthy, healthier, or least healthy.
The nutrition teams are also reviewing over 200 lines annually with potential for improvement to meet the healthy or healthier criteria. Furthermore, Lidl says it will engage with suppliers to boost its more nutritional products.
This commitment follows close behind Lidl’s investment in a separate ‘Get Fresh’ initiative. That one aims to offer more healthy choices by increasing the range of fresh, healthy products available to customers in-store. To make this increase of fresh-food options possible, stores have been upgraded with energy-efficient chillers that can stock over 100 products on shelves. In addition, to get customers inclined to buy these items, Lidl will be prioritizing placing the fresh, healthy produce prominently at the front of the store.
Our Healthy Eating Pledge is our most ambitious healthy eating target yet and is focused on helping families make healthier choices when they shop with us, without compromising on price.
Rebecca Tobi, Peas Please project manager at the Food Foundation, said:
Ahead of the National Food Strategy’s release later this week, it’s fantastic to see Lidl making such strong commitments to increasing sales of healthier foods, particularly an ambitious 35 percent increase in sales of fruit and veg.
Previous commitments and steps Lidl took to promote healthy eating, particularly among children, included removing cartoon characters from its own brand cereal ranges. (It reduces pester power.) In addition, Lidl became the first supermarket in Britain to remove chocolates and sweets from checkouts nationwide back in 2014.
Commitments like these could really help the world’s growing obesity problem. Many supermarkets tend to tempt their customers to buy unhealthy foods. In response to government consultations, health professionals and charities have said that these stores should do more to tackle obesity and less to cause it.
According to a recent Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) report on the marketing tactics of supermarkets, more than one in three people impulse buy unhealthy foods because they’re on special offers. And with the average UK citizen making 221 trips to the supermarket per year, that’s a lot of opportunities to get lured into buying unhealthy food!
Shirley Cramer CBE, RSPH’s Chief Executive, said:
The environment in which we live is a major contributor towards obesity, and supermarkets have both the power and influence, as well as a responsibility, in tackling their contribution to this ‘obesogenic’ environment.
There has been some progress by supermarkets in areas such as removing junk food from checkouts, but our research shows shoppers and industry experts feel there is much more supermarkets can and should do to promote healthier choices.
According to the Obesity Health Alliance, about 43% of foods and drinks placed in prominent areas of popular supermarkets are sugary. Furthermore, they place essentials, like milk and eggs, at the back of the store, so you have to pass lots of displays and offers on your way to getting them. So it makes sense that one in five UK adults feel supermarkets veer them off-track when trying to lose weight.
Research has shown that moving snacks away from checkouts reduces their purchase by 17%. Good thing Lidl fixed that issue so many years ago! Hopefully, their new ideas related to the Healthy Eating Pledge will be just as, or more, effective. Together, every little change can make a big difference in making it easier for people to be healthy.