ACS pleads to prime minister for HFSS review

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has penned a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, urging for a review of the introduction of location and promotional restrictions on high fat, salt and sugar products (HFFS).

When asked about HFSS regulations at PMQs this week, Johnson revealed that the industry would be granted “more time” to consider the impact of the regulations.

Within the letter to the PM submitted on 10 March, the Association outlined the exchange at PMQs and explained the burdern on convenience retailers, the uncertainty of the rules, and the lack of official guidance.

READ MORE: How will HFSS legislation play out on the supermarket floor?

“With only seven months left until the implementation of the biggest regulatory change to the sale of grocery products in England for a generation, there remains a huge amount of uncertainty for local shops, supermarkets and food suppliers,” the letter stated.

“At present your officials cannot indicate to industry, including thousands of small local shop owners, a clear definition of the products impacted by the regulations or the promotional mechanism that can be used to sell them.”

However, retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have already geared up ahead of October – when the legislation was originally scheduled to come into force.

The Association has warned that the if HFSS regulations were to implemented this autumn, it could cost the convenient sector over £90 million alone.

“The Government is expecting retailers to make fundamental changes to their businesses in the dark, without clear guidance on what they can and cannot offer to customers,” ACS CEO James Lowman added.

“With the cost of living rising and wave after wave of food supply crisis hitting retailers over the last two years, this is not the time to introduce enormously disruptive, costly and unproven regulations.”

The news comes as research from the ACS revealed in august 2021 that 45% of independent and symbol retailers were not aware of the upcoming regulations.

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