Around 50% of adults in Sweden are overweight or obese. Obesity is among the main five risk factors in Sweden for healthy years of life being lost. Among the main drivers of this problem are unhealthy eating habits with high intakes of saturated fat, salt and sugar.
Recent research in the UK shows that food promotions strongly encourage the consumption of unhealthy products (defined as products high in fat, salt or sugar, 'HFSS' for short). As a consequence, the UK Government has issued legislation aimed at limiting the promotion of unhealthy food products from October 2022 onwards (later postponed to October 2023). The legislation focuses on promotions of the type 'buy 1 get 1 free' or '5 for only £1,-'. Research has shown that it is this 'multibuy' type of promotion that leads to the biggest increase in consumption.
These developments provide an interesting opportunity to look at the Swedish food landscape through the lens of British health research and legislation. In this study we assess the extent to which Swedish supermarkets contribute to the obesogenic food environment through their promotions. The research will help to answer the question: which part of unhealthy food promotions by Swedish supermarkets would already be illegal by UK standards?