Changing the conversation about health

A side of fries with that? Food outlets fuelling UK’s obesity crisis by ‘upselling’, experts warn

Companies that try and sell customers a side of fries with their meal or persuade them to up the size of their latte are fuelling the UK’s obesity crisis, say health experts.

Consumers are being ‘tricked’ into buying larger portions, or adding calorie-laden toppings and sides when buying food in cafes, pubs and restaurants, warns The Royal Society for Public Health

Businesses hoping to swell profits with these ‘barely noticed’ marketing ploys are also swelling the nation’s waistlines.

A poll conducted by The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Slimming World found that nearly 80 per cent of consumers said they experienced ‘upselling’ every week.

Health experts say super-sizing food and drink, and adding sides and toppings could see consumers eating in excess of 17,000 calories a year more; the equivalent of an extra 5lbs (2.4kg) in weight gain over 12 months.

RSPH Chief executive Shirley Cramer said diners were being tricked into consuming additional calories “without us noticing”.

Cramer urged businesses to stop asking staff to target restaurant-goers with unhealthy additional items and focus on selling them more nutritious food instead if they wanted to continue to upsell.

Of 2,000 adults questioned in the survey, 34 per cent said they’d chosen to buy a larger coffee when asked if they’d like to upsize, while 35 per cent revealed they added sides to a meal – such as chips or onion rings – if it was offered by their server.

Source: Slimming World/Royal Society for Public Health