Somerfield results - Health

Indicator 7.1 View criteria

Issue: Corporate commitment to public health

Indicator: Responsibility for and action on food and public health

Somerfield expressed a commitment to supporting public health policy in all three specified areas (action on food poverty and health inequalities; commitment to widening access; and nutrition and healthy eating). While it has published policies on nutrition and healthy eating, it does not have policies to describe and guide its activities in the other areas.

Indicator 7.2 View criteria

Issue: Action on food poverty and health inequalities

Indicator: Store location and pricing policy

Somerfield does provide incentives for people to make healthy choices, for example by providing “healthier” ranges and running promotions on healthy foods. However, data for two out of three parts of this question was incomplete, so could not be scored.


Indicator 7.3 View criteria

Issue: Commitment to widening access

Indicator: Access to and within stores

In the absence of baseline data, the first part of this question (on the proportions of customers leaving the store by car, by public transport or on foot), could not be scored. But Somerfield scored well for offering a delivery service to all its customers, though only if they spend more than a certain amount.


Indicator 7.4 View criteria

Issue: Nutrition and healthy eating

Indicator: Extent to which sales support dietary guidelines

Somerfield scored fairly well on the questions relating to the extent to which sales support dietary guidelines (but see note in the overall review of this module). It has taken steps to reduce the amount of salt and fat added to its own-brand crisps and ready-meals, but has still to take action on the sugar content of its soft drinks. It provides full nutritional labelling. Although it has IT systems that would allow it to provide data to customers to help them analyse their shopping nutritionally on the basis of till receipts, this information has never been made available to customers. Somerfield does not subscribe to the government’s Five a Day logo, but operates a scheme of its own to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

Overall commentary and examples of good practice

Somerfield achieved a moderate score in this module – reflecting the fact that the module asks retailers to considers issues and indicators which do not yet routinely feature in environmental or social responsibility audits, and in some cases asks for data which retailers may not collect for other purposes. One of the objectives of the module has been to encourage retailers to collect this data, and to consider the extent to which their policies and activities support wider public health goals. The fact that the highest performer in this module was able to answer (and score highly on) most questions demonstrates the feasibility of this approach, and the scope for improvement in the sector as a whole.

Relative to other retailers, Somerfield scored well on the indicator relating to widening access to and within its stores. Maintaining a presence on the high street is part of the company’s core business strategy. It also scored well on questions relating to the provision and promotion of healthy (or “healthier”) foods, demonstrating a commitment to the goal of supporting healthy eating messages. Unfortunately, like other retailers, it lost marks because it did not supply data for some questions. It also lost some marks through its lack of explicit policies in the various areas covered. This does not necessarily mean that the company performs badly in these areas – it may be more accurate to infer that the company has not considered it a priority (or has not had the resources) to develop policies to articulate an awareness of the impact its activities may have on public health.

Examples of good practice

Areas for improvement

* Under review.


Supermarket comments

We found this a difficult section as there was no agreement as to its content until very late into the year. Data cannot be easily produced if it is not available. We are currently reviewing the home delivery system and the issue of minimum spend for pensioners. We are purchasing a new IT system which will give us better product data.


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