Consumers who rely on supermarket economy-range foods could be short-changed on their health, according to the National Consumer Council’s latest report.

Published last Friday (1 December), the NCC’s 2006 report, Short-changed on health? ranks how supermarkets affect your chances of a healthy diet. It reveals that some supermarkets are undermining efforts to reduce health inequalities.

Not only were there fewer healthy food promotions in supermarkets where low income consumers are likely to shop, but most supermarket economy lines contained significantly more salt – and slightly more fat and sugar – than their standard own-brand lines.

Lord Whitty, chair of the NCC, said: “Supermarkets’ poor performance on economy lines is a backward step since last year. At least 26m of us are eating too much salt supermarkets should play a bigger part in tackling the problem.”

But BRC director general Kevin Hawkins branded the report “out of date”.

“It is based on store visits six months ago. Retailers will be disappointed it fails to give credit for a string of significant moves already made and more on the way.”