How can we make healthy food the easy choice?

Choosing healthy food would be easier if it was plentiful, affordable and readily marketed in our communities. Everyone needs to be able to easily access affordable nutritious food and be free from unhealthy food marketing to experience better health and less cancer.

The challenge of healthy eating

It's hard to eat well in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially for those living in poorer areas. Low quality processed food is everywhere, cheap and widely marketed. The food industry is promoting sales and profit, not our health.  

  • Seventy percent of packaged food in supermarkets is now ultra-processed
  • Children are exposed to unhealthy food advertising over 27 times a day 
  • Unhealthy food is marketed to children twice as much as healthy food  

Poorer suburbs often have more unhealthy food advertising and a higher number of outlets selling unhealthy food. It is not fair that where you live affects your health and cancer risk

  • Māori tamariki are exposed to more unhealthy food marketing than Pākehā children.
  • There are 4 times as many fast food outlets in poorer suburbs.
  • The ratio of unhealthy food in supermarkets is greater in poorer areas.
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What can you do?

If we all work together, we can create an environment where healthy food is more readily available in our communities to help lower the chance of cancer.

Everyone has a part to play in making healthy food plentiful where we live, work and play. Talk to your whānau, workplace, school, or community about ways to promote healthy food in your organisation or community.

Healthy food marketing

Children in Aotearoa New Zealand are exposed to excessive unhealthy food advertising everyday, which is influencing their food and drink choices.

The Cancer Society supports stronger laws to restrict unhealthy food marketing. 

Healthy food in schools

Schools play an important role in shaping childhood eating patterns that promote healthy lives.

Schools, kura kaupapa, early childhood education centres, and kōhanga reo are encouraged to offer healthy food.   Healthy eating is a key part of health and physical education curriculum. The Ministry of Health provides guidance on how to improve access to healthy food and drinks. See School Food Policies.

Healthy food in workplaces

Healthy eating in our workplaces is also essential for good health and wellbeing. The Ministry of Health encourages all organisations to have a healthy food policy based on the  Eating and Activity Guidelines.

Healthy food in communities

Promoting healthy food in our communities such as a community group or event, marae or church is a good way to be a positive role model.

Talk with your community group about making your community event healthier by using these Food and Drink Guidelines for Events.

Last updated: October 17, 2022