Supermarkets are doing too little to make healthy eating easy

Despite promises, supermarkets have hardly made progress in two years time.

Unhealthy products dominate in offers, the assortment and the shop design in supermarkets. This has become clear in Superlist Health 2022, which was published today. Supermarkets agreed to encourage consumers to eat and drink more healthily in the National Prevention Agreement (2018). This research reveals supermarkets do not live up to these promises. This is worrisome considering half of the adults and one in six children are overweight in our country. 

Superlist Health 2022 compares what eight Dutch Supermarkets are doing to encourage consumers to eat and drink more healthily. The outcomes of the report emphasize that self-regulation does not work. It is time that the government forces measures to be taken through legislation. That is why the report will be handed to Secretary of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Maarten van Ooijen.

Barely improvement

Sinds the last measurement in 2020 hardly any improvements have been implemented. 

  • None of the supermarkets that were researched, excluding Lidl, publish whether they comply with the agreements made in the National Prevention Agreement;
  • At least 80% of the products in all weekly flyers do not fit into the Dutch National Standards, the Wheel of Five, just like in 2020
  • Almost all supermarkets, excluding Dirk, tempt their customers to unhealthy choices at the check-out. Often these unhealthy products target children specifically;
  • Promotions are still offered for sweet beverages for children. Dirk promotes these products the most (5 out 8 flyers), followed by Albert Heijn and Aldi (4 out of 8 flyers).

Ranking 2022:

Small improvements can be seen among some supermarkets compared to 2020. Lidl is the only supermarket chain that has formulated clear goals based on the Prevention Agreement and reports on this. Ekoplaza has substantially increased the products they offer in weekly flyers that fit into the Dutch National Standards, the Wheel of Five (from 19 to 30 percent). Just as in 2020, Ekoplaza and Lidl lead the Superlist but the other supermarkets are now further removed. Former frontrunner Dirk’s performance is similar to 2020, but has not advanced where others did. Coop moves back to the laggards. Albert Heijn, as the largest supermarket in the Netherlands, clearly lags behind in promoting a healthy eating pattern. 


About Superlist Health

Superlist Health is a country wide comparative research conducted by Questionmark looking into the extent to which supermarkets help their customers make a healthy choice. The output is a public ranking of the supermarkets. The supermarkets researched in Superlist are: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi, Plus, Dirk, Coop, and Ekoplaza. Superlist Health 2022 is a follow up to the first edition published in 2020.