Coles’ research says consumers have “fat chance” of losing weight without government intervention

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th December 2012

Obesity Australia and Coles have joined forces to conduct consumer research on attitudes towards weight-loss, finding that many consumers believe the government needs to play an integral role in tackling obesity.

Of the 2315 Coles customers surveyed in November 2012, 72 per cent of those said they have had to lose weight before, but 67 per cent said they had struggled to maintain their target due to a lack of will-power.

According to the research, a quarter of Coles’ consumers said that the government should guide new parents, agreeing that pregnancy and parenting is a key time for government action.

In addition, three quarters of those surveyed believe that obesity can not be tackled by eating habits alone, and 30 per cent of customers also felt that the government should underwrite weight loss programs and surgical procedures.

Obesity Australia Chair, Professor John Funder said that the Coles’ research showed that consumers had a good appreciation for the extent that obesity is an issue in Australia.

“They understand the need for Government support not only around pregnancy and parenting, but also of accredited weight loss programs and medical/surgical approaches to severe obesity. This is a very persuasive evidence base upon which more effective policies can be designed to mitigate the societal costs – personal, medical and in terms of productivity – of established obesity,” Professor Funder said.

Coles’ General Manager of Coles Brands Tina Jeary said that as a food retailer they “play an important role in helping consumers make healthier choices.”

Coles conducted the research to inform its own strategy for health. In 2012, the supermarket group has seen a 20 per cent increase in fruit and vegetables sales and has removed “30 tonnes of salt a year from customers’ diets” with salt-reduction targets.

The Coles Simply Less range was also launched in mid 2012 to provide 90 “healthy options” at “affordable prices” developed by nutritionists.

The full survey was published for the first national Obesity Australia conference held in Canberra recently.