Published:22 October 2012

Morrisons in drive to lighten load of HGV drivers.

New research* out today reveals nearly a third (28 per cent) of the nation’s truckers are obese or morbidly obese against a national average of a fifth (22 per cent).

The research, commissioned by Morrisons and carried out amongst HGV drivers, shows limited choice of healthier food at service stations (45 per cent) as being the main reason for the trucking community’s expanding waistlines, closely followed by the belief that healthier food is not convenient (42 per cent). 

In an effort to help the UK’s 465,000 licensed HGV drivers** and Morrisons’ 1,207  HGV and van drivers, make a U-turn to a healthier lifestyle, supermarket Morrisons, who recently launched its healthier eating range NuMe, is piloting a series of initiatives at truck stops across the UK this week (22nd October 2012) including:

  • The NuMe HGV (Healthier Goods Vehicle): serving up tasty meals at truck parks around the UK, demonstrating that eating healthier doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on taste or taking ages to prepare.
  • Freshly cooked ‘fry-down’ menus: offering healthier versions of the traditional ‘fry-up’ breakfast to show the small switches truckers can make towards better health.
  • ‘Weigh-by’ health check clinics: offering HGV drivers a health MOT, including a body mass index check with one-to-one advice.

Practising GP and Radio 2 Doctor, Dr Sarah Jarvis, commented:
“Typical roadside convenience foods such as burgers, sausage rolls, crisps and fry-ups are high in saturated fat; a typical fry-up can contain more than half of the recommended daily calorie allowance.  Travelling for long periods can make it difficult to avoid these types of foods, especially when the roads are lined with fast food outlets. But by preparing and buying healthier food in advance, such as the Morrisons NuMe range, you can ensure you eat nutritionally balanced meals.
“Obesity is a huge burden on the NHS and although junk food may seem a quick and easy short-term option whilst on the road, it doesn’t pay off in terms of health in the long run,” continued Dr Jarvis.

The research by Morrisons NuMe also reveals:

  • 41 per cent of truck drivers worry about their health, and 22 per cent say they would like to be healthier.
  • More than a third (34 per cent) say being ‘on the road’ makes it difficult to be healthy.
  • Almost a third snack on biscuits, and more than a fifth snack on crisps daily.
  • 70 per cent of truckers admit they do not eat fruit daily and, on average, eat just three of their five a day.
  • Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) mainly eat their meals from transport cafes, service stations, depots or fast food outlets.
  • The average trucker spends 20 hours a week behind the wheel, and a quarter (25 per cent) spend four out of five working days (30 hours) in their cabs.

Bryonie Hollaert, Morrisons nutritionist who worked with professional chefs to create the healthier NuMe range said:
“This particular community is at the extreme forefront of the rise in obesity across the UK. Because of their profession, it is particularly difficult for them to accommodate healthier eating and exercise. With our truck stop takeovers we are providing health information but also healthier versions of their favourite foods including bacon butties with less salt, fat, and lower calorie ingredients.
“We want to show how healthier switches can be an easier option, with the NuMe range at Morrisons being a great place to start.”
The NuMe Healthier Goods Vehicle will be visiting truck stops around the UK week commencing 22nd October 2012, serving truckers at major roads in Suffolk, Warwickshire and Cumbria.

*OnePoll survey of 235 UK HGV drivers, October 2012, commissioned by Morrisons