Stuart Rose, chief executive of Marks and Spencer, has warned that Britain risks becoming a "nanny state" amid moves to restrict advertising of some foods and to put traffic light labelling on food packaging.

Rose, speaking exclusively to The Grocer, scoffed at the suggestion that a consultation on the future of advertising of food and drink to children could lead to the retailer being forced to pull pre-watershed advertising featuring treats such as its famous chocolate pudding.

One possible outcome of the Ofcom consultation is that restrictions on advertising will be put in place according to how fatty, sugary or salty a product is - leading to speculation that even adverts not specifically aimed at kids could be put in the firing line.

Rose said the retailer was following the consultation on advertising food and drink to children, but dismissed the idea that adverts with an adult tone could be seen as targeting children. "We will wait to see what the legislative proposal is. But are you really going to ban an advert for a chocolate pudding? Speaking from a personal point of view, it would be extremely extraordinary to do so. There's always a danger of becoming a nanny state, and we need common sense."

He also said that M&S had no immediate plans to put front-of-pack traffic light labelling on its products. He added: "There's value in educating consumers. But do you really want to see red traffic lights all over a natural food because of what it contains?"

Rose was in bullish mood as M&S posted strong like-for-like sales growth for the first quarter of this year, with food sales up 5.8% on a year ago and overall food sales up 9.2%.

He said M&S had increased its share of the grocery market from 3.8% to 4% in the year to 18 June, and the company was gunning for a 5% share. M&S had stolen customers from all of its rivals, he claimed.

Rose admitted much of M&S's future progress in the grocery sector hinged on finding suitable sites on which to build more Simply Food stores.

But he insisted that the retailer had not faced difficulties because rival retailers were holding undeveloped sites in landbanks. Allegations of such practices are at the centre of the Competition Commission's investigation into grocery.

Asked about M&S's part in that inquiry, he said: "We are involved in the sense that everybody is involved. They are sending us various bits of paper and we are co-operating fully."

He also ruled out a full rebranding of M&S as Your M&S - but did not rule out the use of the Your M&S slogan on product packs.

Rose also defended the retailer's decision to renegotiate payments to suppliers last year. "Suppliers are getting less cash per unit, but they are now selling more units,"he said.