Jun 12, 2019

Only 1 in 5 supermarket promotions is healthy

Supermarkets play a decisive role in consumption and buying behaviour of consumers. Only 1 in 5 supermarket promotions is aimed at promoting healthy products (as defined by The Netherlands Nutrition Centre). Thus the average retailer promotion folder seduces consumers to buy products considered less healthy. There are large differences between supermarkets, but also within them. Questionmark researched the assortment and promotions of Dutch supermarket and concluded, among others:

  • No supermarkt appears to direct consumers to healthy choices with promotions. This is opposed to the recommendations from the "Schijf van Vijf" of The Netherlands Nutrition Centre.
  • There are supermarkets that use promotions to distinguish themselves on sustainability, for example by encouraging consumption of plant-based proteins. In some supermarkets the vegetarian option is more accessible than in others.

This picture confirms that it is desirable to benchmark supermarkets on how easy they make a healthy and sustainable choice. Such a benchmark can substantiate the idea of a 'comparison between supermarkets' as introduced by minister Schouten and secretary of state Blokhuis in their joint letter to parliament (2008).

Presentation to Dutch politics

The report was presented to state secretary Blokhuis of Health, Welfare and Sport. He promises to include the results of the investigation in the Lower House debate: "It is important for our health that the healthy choice is the easy one. Supermarkets play an important role with the products they put on offer and in promotion. Supermarkets have done much in the past years, but it really could be better. That is also clear from this investigation. I encourage initiatives of this kind so that it becomes increasingly attractive to opt for healthy food in the supermarket." says Blokhuis (translated).


This initial investigation does not name supermarkets yet, but shows the diversity among them. When this research is continued, this will be possible, so that good examples can be rewarded and the laggards are stimulated to increase their effort.

Download the Superlist report to read more.

Het Superlijst rapport ontvangen?


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