Companies producing high-calorie foods should be taxed to help tackle the 'obesity crisis', campaigners have demanded.
Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, based at Queen Mary University of London, say it would work the same way as the successful soft drinks industry levy.
Manufacturers would be forced to pay a levy to the Government if they fail to reduce excessive calories in processed foods.
The campaigners say fat is a bigger contributor to calories in the diet than sugar so companies must be encouraged to reduce both.
Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University and chairman of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, said the soft drinks levy had been much more successful than expected.
It has not only reduced sugar in drinks but also produced £340m income from manufacturers to spend on improving children’s health.
Prof MacGregor said: 'The same could be achieved in creating a levy to reduce excess calories but we need a firm commitment from HM Treasury and The Department of Health and Social Care to make this a reality.'