All consumers deserve the right not just to food, but to healthy food. The rise in diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers represents a major international public health crisis. The number of overweight and obese people continues to rise and, to date, not a single country has been successful in reversing the increase.

Unhealthy diets

  • Unhealthy diets are linked to four of the ten biggest causes of death worldwide: obesity, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and high cholesterol.
  • The impact of poor diets on health now exceeds that of smoking.
  • The impact of obesity on global GDP is equivalent to the cost of war, gun violence and terrorism. It is estimated to cost US$2 trillion per year.
  • This is a problem that affects people in the developed and developing world, with the fastest increases occurring in the global south.

That’s why we decided to make helping consumers choose healthy diets the theme of World Consumer Rights Day 2015. 


Our activities for World Consumer Rights Day 2015 focused on our call on the World Health Organization (WHO) for an International Convention to Protect and Promote Healthy Diets – using a similar mechanism to the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, which undoubtedly helped reduce smoking deaths and disease. 

At the World Health Assembly in May 2014, we launched our call for a Global Convention on healthy diet and published a set of recommendations (eng) for member states to consider. In November 2014 we co-authored an open letter (eng) to the heads of WHO and Food And Agriculture Organization (FAO) calling for a Global Convention.

To mark the day, our members around the world staged campaign actions to draw attention to the difficulties faced by consumers in choosing healthy diets.

Our campaign message achieved Consumer International’s highest ever reach on social media. The message, “I want a world where consumers have the right to healthy food #WHO must take action #FoodTreatyNow reached more than 2.8 million social media users.

National activities to mark the day were held by 110 Consumers International members in 84 countries. All of these, along with news reports, health indicator data and policy information, are displayed in full on an interactive World Consumer Rights Day map above. Below is a snapshot of some the day's events from across the globe.

Consumers Union of Argentina (UCA) arranged a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican to present Consumers International's World Consumer Rights Day 2015 campaign and recommendations for a #FoodTreatyNow.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe organised an awareness raising day with events across the country including: a 10km race, stalls checking blood pressure and body mass index, addresses by speakers and street marches.

UK member Which? surveyed cereal bars and revealed some very high levels of sugar, including those marketed specifically to children. Kellogg’s Coco Pops Snack Bar was the worst offender containing 42% sugar.

In South Korea - Korea National Council of Consumer Organisations (KNCCO), Consumers Korea and Consumers Union of Korea - teamed up to organise a round table seminar and street event.

Consumers International members also teamed up in Malaysia, where the Selangor and Federal Territory Consumers Association, the Education & Research Association for Consumers, and the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, organised an 'Know your food' event in hypermarkets. Children were asked to choose food and professional dietitian analysed their choices and gave feedback. 

In Cape Verde, Consumer Defence Association (ADECO) commissioned radio and television spots under the motto "consumer rights to healthy eating"; organised a ceremony in partnership with the Ministry of Health; as well as a series of lectures, exhibitions and cultural and sports activities

In the Netherlands, Consumentenbond began building a 'Wall of Shame' showcasing examples of unhealthy advertising. Every month consumers can vote for the worst of three nominated products or producers. 

El Poder del Consumidor in Mexico created a short animated film making the case for a global convention.


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