Esso is responding to the nation’s growing obesity concerns by launching a new labelling scheme and a series of promotions to highlight healthier product choices in its company-owned stores.

The ’Healthier Options’ tick scheme will appear in On the Run and Snack and Shop stores from this month. A Healthy Option tick logo will appear permanently on pricing strips in front of products with ’better for you’ credentials, such as water, low-fat snacks, cereal bars and nuts, fruit and seeds.

Meanwhile, gondola-end promotions will be used to launch the scheme, with offers on leading brands such as Snack a Jacks, Pretz, You Are What You Eat and Volvic. Esso spokesman David Eglinton said the oil company was responding to consumer demand for healthier products that were quick and convenient.

"The healthier options market has continued to grow, opening up opportunities for manufacturers and retailers alike," he explains. "With media reports suggesting that around 70% of adults are making a conscious effort to eat more healthily, we’ve launched this scheme to help customers locate such products more easily.

"The Healthier Options brand is exactly that - it highlights the products within our impulse categories that may be healthier choices, enabling customers to make a quick purchase decision," he says.

Mike Greene , chief executive officer of HIM says the health agenda is one that forecourt retailers cannot afford to ignore.

"Forecourts have tended to be a bit behind as they are more male dominated," he says. "But our research shows that both men and women are more health conscious than they were a year ago. This isn’t a blip. We see this as being an ongoing trend."