Waitrose announces packaging change to raise awareness of bowel cancer

Friday 24 June 2022

Waitrose has today announced it will be updating packaging and information available to customers in order to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms.  Bowel Cancer UK’s #GetOnARoll campaign is calling on all supermarkets across the country to put bowel cancer symptoms on their own brand loo roll – where people need to see them most.

We will be taking the following steps:

  • Introducing information on bowel cancer symptoms on our Waitrose own label toilet roll packaging 
  • Point of sale information for customers on bowel cancer symptoms to raise awareness, ahead of packaging change
  • Coverage in Waitrose Weekend raising awareness of bowel cancer symptoms

Natalie Mitchell, Waitrose Director of Own Brand, said:
“We want all of our customers to recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer. We’ve been inspired by what Dame Deborah James has done to raise awareness and we want to play our part in this really important campaign in partnership with Bowel Cancer UK.  We will be updating our packaging from the autumn* to include this important information”.  

Bowel Cancer UK CEO Genevieve Edwards said:
“Almost 43,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year, making it the fourth most common cancer. It’s the second biggest cancer killer, but it doesn’t have to be, as the disease is treatable and curable, especially when it’s discovered early. Sadly, 60 per cent of people are diagnosed at later stages of the disease, when it’s more difficult to treat. Awareness of the red flag symptoms of bowel cancer remains worryingly low, so it’s fantastic that Waitrose has signed up to our #GetOnARoll campaign to help people recognise the signs.”


  • We're committed to eliminating unnecessary waste, so packing will change as individual products are sold through.  
  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer. However, it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
  • Listed symptoms for packaging will include:
    • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
    • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit 
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
    • A pain or lump in your tummy
  • Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s nearly 43,000 people every year, nearly 120 people every day   
  • More than 2,600 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year  
  • 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime
  • Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage. However this drops significantly as the disease develops. Early diagnosis really does save lives.

About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch.


Waitrose & Partners

Gill Smith

Partner & Senior Manager, Media Relations
Tel: 07887898133
Email: gill.smith@waitrose.co.uk