Tesco, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Boots and Asda face calls to end beloved meal deals

Experts have made calls to scrap the hugely popular meal deal from supermarkets amid concerns about an obesity crisis in the UK.

The iconic combo includes a sandwich, a snack, and a drink, and has long been a staple of British supermarkets.

But now an expert from the government's Health and Safety Executive has called for the popular deal to be made "illegal", the Mirror reports.

In an appearance on the Pat Kenny Show Dr. Donal O'Shea, the clinical lead at the HSE, argued that the deal should be scrapped in stores such as Sainsbury's, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, and Asda.

Others have also advocated for them to be removed from places such as petrol stations.

Dr O'Shea pointed out that these deals nearly always include only unhealthy food options and therefore should be banned, saying: "Literally, that should be illegal."

"The industry has the statistics and they know how to prompt and promote consumption, And 70% of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says 'well are you sure, it's a good offer'. Then another 30% will say 'ah yeah, go on'.

"They are actually trained because the industry has the stats and they know how to prompt and they know how to promote consumption. We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it.

"Those buy one get one free offers are always around the high fat, high salt, high sugar stuff, never around fruit.”

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A report released by the World Health Organisation earlier this month highlighted that obesity is a factor in 200,000 cancer cases and 1.2 million death a year in Europe.

The report said: "Alarmingly, there have been consistent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the WHO European region and no member state is on track to reach the target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025.

"Across the WHO European region, obesity is likely to be directly responsible for at least 200,000 new cancer cases annually, with this figure projected to rise in the coming decades.

"For some countries within the region, it is predicted that obesity will overtake smoking as the main risk factor for preventable cancer.”

Responding to the report's findings, O'Shea said: "We're beginning to see the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on weight patterns in young people. We have a kind of population separation.

"About 2% of the population are super fit, have abs and bodies to die for. And the rest of us have fallen into what is now 65% adults overweight or obese and unfortunately the childhood stats have not improved."

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