Health minister Dawn Primarolo yesterday called for the food industry to reduce the size of servings on products containing high levels of sugar or fat.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency, Primarolo said the move was needed to address rising obesity levels in the UK.

“Most companies do offer a range of sizes, which is great,” she said, “but are snack-sized options available where people make impulse buys, like corner shops, newsagents and garages? And are they sold individually, not just in multi-packs?

“If not, how can we make this happen? And for soft drinks, why can't we have 250ml size, replacing the 330ml cans and 500ml bottles?”

She also called for fast food outlets to include details of the calories in servings on their menus.

The news comes after latest figures suggested that one in four adults in the UK are clinically obese – a proportion that is expected to rise to a half by 2050.