The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has urged retailers to crack down on early Easter egg sales to tackle obesity.

Research commissioned by RSPH found that with over three weeks to go until Easter, half (50%) of the UK public had bought and consumed at least one Easter-related chocolate, treat or cake, while almost a quarter (23%) had already bought and consumed at least one full-sized Easter egg this year.

The RSPH polling also found:

  • over three-quarters (77%) of people think supermarkets start selling Easter eggs and other Easter-related treats too early

  • over half (57%) of parents agree that their child has been tempted by Easter-themed treats displayed near checkouts

  • more than two-thirds (68%) of people agree that holidays or special occasions are used too much to advertise and sell unhealthy food, with over a third (38%) claiming when supermarkets push seasonal products, it makes their diet less healthy than it would normally be.

Latest figures suggest that around 1 in 4 UK adults (27%) are obese, the highest rates in Western Europe.

Most concerning, says the RSPH, is the prevalence of childhood obesity — among year 6 pupils, over 20% are obese and as many as 4.2% are now “severely obese” (the highest rate ever).

RSPH believes that more must be done to reverse these trends, and is urging retailers to do more to encourage healthy choices and to stop pushing unhealthy products.

Shirley Cramer, CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH said, “If supermarkets are serious about tackling the obesity epidemic, we would urge retailers to change their marketing strategies in the interest of the public’s health.”

Last reviewed 2 April 2019