Public Health England’s (PHE) campaign to limit children’s snacks to 100 calories affects 99% of the top confectionery lines sold in independent local shops.

The new health initiative from the Change4Life programme, which launched in 2009, is aimed at preventing children from eating more than two 100 calorie snacks per day. The organisation estimates that children currently eat three high-calorie snacks each day.

When applied to the top 25 lines in crisps, chocolate blocks, chocolate bars and sugar confectionery categories, out of the 100 lines, only one product falls under the 100 calorie cap – Tic Tac Lime & Orange 18g.

A comparison of the top lines listed in RN’s What To Stock guide 2017 with nutritional information revealed that the average top 25 crisp line contained more than 400 calories and the average chocolate bar contained nearly 250 calories.

The campaign is based around a Change4Life app that will allow consumers to scan barcodes to check calorie, sugar, salt and saturated fat levels in each line.

While aimed at reducing sales of key lines for independent convenience stores, the campaign will also push consumers to major supermarkets. PHE has announced that the app will promote special offers and vouchers for parents to redeem in Tesco and Co-op stores.

PHE told Retail Express that Booker Wholesale has also partnered with the Change4Life campaign, with shelf labels promoting the app sent to 11,000 of its independent retail customers. A spokesperson from PHE said: "It will help parents find healthier snacking options.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said that children coming out of school and purchasing unhealthy products is “part of the reason why we have an obesity epidemic in this country”.

At a Retail Express workshop last month Spar retailer Raj Aggarwal said independent retailers need more support from manufacturers and wholesalers to meet health demands. “The problem we’ve got is they still don’t have the right health products at the right price,” he explained.

Aggarwal added that in many areas, there isn’t enough local demand for low-calorie lines to support retailers ranging healthier products.

In 2017, Public Health England announced plans to reduce sugar in confectionery by 20%.