Healthy eating rules must apply to all, says Greggs boss

Small businesses should not be exempt from any new laws to tackle obesity, according to Roger Whiteside, chief executive at Greggs.

“The temptation with regulation is to hit the big guys but we [Greggs] are less than 2% of the market. If we regulate and it’s the big guys only, we just squeeze the balloon at one end,” he said.

Whiteside suggested that whilst the larger chains were making moves to provide healthier options – £100m of Greggs’ £1.03 billion sales are now reportedly “healthier” products – independents were moving in the opposite direction.

“They know that bigger cakes and more indulgent things sell better. Part of my worry in taking the direction we have taken is that we expose our underbelly to the independent sector who then fills that gap, knowing that customers will likely respond,” he explained. “So that’s a problem.”

He added: “Over half the [OOH] market is independents. We’ve got to deal with that end of the market.”

Whiteside’s comments, made at this month’s Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum and reported by Foodnavigator, come amid reports that mandatory calorie labelling will not apply to firms with fewer than 250 staff.

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