Obesity levels in England are significantly higher than in much of the rest of Europe. This article examines aspects of the physical and cultural context of food consumption in England, and the evolution of government policy on obesity, as a background to an analysis of how law might play a role in obesity prevention. Research suggests that individual food choices are associated with cultural and socio-economic circumstances and that they can be manipulated by advertising, food packaging and presentation. This suggests that there might be ways of using law to manage the influences on food choices, and of using law in support of strategies to redirect food choices towards healthy food products. Law is a particularly useful tool in the protection of the individual against the economic power of the food industry, and there is much that law can do to change the physical, economic and social environment of food consumption.