The government's 'nanny state' preoccupation with penalising retailers could see traditional convenience categories decimated, a wholesaler has warned.

Philip Jenkins, managing director of Sugro UK, told FWD conference delegates that small stores were seen as "peddlers of dubious products".

"We are told we are the sole cause of obesity because we sell confectionery to children," he said. "We're told that we target sugary soft drinks at children. We're enemy number one with the government and the NHS and they believe we must be penalised."

Jenkins added: "Why do they feel compelled to murder an established industry? These attacks jeopardise legitimate product supply and rip the heart out of perfectly legitimate ranges. This is from a government which has sold off school playing fields and encouraged local authorities to charge for access to sports facilities."

Telling people what they can eat threatens freedom of choice, he said, and he urged delegates to write to their MP to ensure that this freedom is protected.