Second opinion
Everyone seems to be sticking with their New Year health resolutions this year - and it's almost the end of May, says Jonathan Pritchard

Every New Year&'s Day, it&'s the same. We wake up with festive hangovers and vow to join a gym, eat better and be healthier. Come Valentine&'s Day, our resolutions have disappeared out of the gym and into the deep fat fryer.
But something different seems to be happening this year. We&'re suddenly sticking with the health kick. The resultant focus on the content and the integrity of what we&'re eating is changing shopping decisions. Some companies (and the investors who own shares in them) are making hay.
So why 2006? There are a number of factors. Every time we flick through the TV channels, we&'re bound to stumble across some variation of &'You Are What You Eat&', &'Look 10 Years Younger&' or &'Turn Back Your Body Clock&'. Clever-looking, slim, attractive TV doctors are telling us we&'re overweight and don&'t look so good. Maybe Marjorie Dawes and her Fatfighters in Little Britain have pricked our consciences too! It&'s decidedly uncool to be unhealthy these days. Where food is concerned, it&'s hip to be square.
And the grocers are assisting us too. Whichever form of colour coding it may be, packaging is becoming clearer. The results have been startling. From a background in which 18 of the 24 fastest growing food categories are &'healthy living&' related, the Sunday Times ­recently reported that sales of &'unhealthy&' foods have fallen by up to 40% since supermarkets started revealing fat, salt and sugar content on labels. Maybe the food scares have also helped. I doubt most people know the difference between Sudan 1 and bird flu, but spending a bit more to keep the kids in shape is a trade many parents are happily making.
It&'s May and the health charge is still on. A straw poll around the ­office shows that all of this year&'s gym joiners still have their memberships and most still use their personal trainers. There are more joggers on Tower Bridge than tourists. McDonald&'s sells salad. We don&'t see the trend changing: healthy living and healthy eating aren&'t fads.
So who&'s benefiting most from this flight to quality? It&'s no coinci­dence that in like-for-like sales terms, Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury are top of the pops right now. These were the companies advertising on food content and ­quality in January, when Tesco and Asda were slugging it out on price.
In a world where fitness is the new fatness, investors would do well to take note.