Questionmark Foundation’s Superlist goes international

Mar 30, 2021

Research into health and sustainability of supermarkets expands to UK and Sweden

Superlist, the series of studies on health and sustainability of supermarkets, will this year be conducted in England and next year in Sweden. In both countries, research foundation Questionmark will use the same scientific method as in the Netherlands. The international superlists will provide supermarkets, governments and consumers measurable insights into the extent to which supermarkets as an environment for daily food choices, stimulate a diet that is good for our health and the environment. 

Superlist investigates how supermarkets help us choose food that is healthy and sustainable. Each survey leads to a public ranking of supermarkets. In the Netherlands, the first Superlist Health was published last October. Currently, Superlist Green is assessing supermarkets and sustainability. The results will be published at the end of May. 

In Europe, more than half of the adult population is currently overweight. This is a major cause of food-related diseases and additional high health costs. It is estimated that in Europe in 2017, more than 950,000 deaths (one in five) were due to an unhealthy diet. In addition, a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from the food sector. The livestock sector produces 70% of this. In order to make the food system future-proof, the dietary patterns of European consumers need to change.

Powerful role of supermarkets
Across Europe, the biggest part of what people consume on a daily basis comes from supermarkets. With their assortment, shop layout and weekly offers, supermarkets have massive influence on the choices their customers make.  

Charlotte Linnebank, director of Questionmark: “Supermarkets across Europe have the opportunity to help their customers choose healthy and sustainable and, with their large purchase volumes, they also have a powerful role in production chains. Supermarkets are well positioned to both make the food pattern healthier and more sustainable, and to accelerate sustainability in production chains. With Superlist we will also help supermarkets outside the Netherlands to seize this opportunity. Starting in England and Sweden."

Measurable insights into supermarket’s practices
Charlotte Linnebank: "In England, the role of supermarkets in the food system has been studied longer and more in detail than in the Netherlands. So far though, these studies only focused on the policy of supermarkets. With Superlist UK, Questionmark will be adding measurable insight into what supermarkets are actually doing in practice to help people make healthy choices. With their assortment and weekly offers for example."

Cooperation with local partners
The method for Superlist UK and Sweden is coordinated with the international research institute World Benchmark Alliance. In both countries, Questionmark will work together with local civil society organizations that are active on the themes of food, health and sustainability. Superlist UK and Superlist Sweden are made possible by a financial contribution from the Swedish Postcode Foundation.


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