Sainsbury’s is ‘committed’ to government’s original timelines restricting HFSS promotions while also urging other retailers and supermarkets to do the same.
The Big 4 grocer was the only supermarket to have prepared for the part of the government’s upcoming high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) restrictions in advance, according to a recent study by charity ShareAction.
In a survey commissioned by the body over a five-week period between August and September last year, Sainsbury’s was found to be the only supermarket to have already stopped offering multibuy promotions across non-compliant HFSS products.
The supermarket believes that product placement and in-store promotions play an “integral role” in a customer’s decision-making process when shopping. Sainsbury’s also accepts it has a responsibility to “positively encourage customers towards making healthier choices and shopping habits”.
It removed confectionery from supermarket checkouts in 2004 and was the first retailer to stop all multi-buy offers on food and soft drinks in 2016.
“In 2016 Sainsbury’s became the first major supermarket in the UK to remove multibuy offers in favour of lower regular prices,” said Sainsbury’s chief marketing officer Mark Given.
“We know our customers in communities across the country are a facing a cost of living crisis and want to continue to provide healthy, nutritious food for their families.”
Given emphasised that Sainsbury’s is “dedicated to making healthy choices more affordable”, pointing out that over the last year nearly 60% of the supermarket’s promotions were on ‘healthier’ or ‘better for you’ choices.
“We are committed to continuing to follow the government’s original HFSS promotional timelines and call on the rest of the industry to do the same,” he added.
Leading food industry experts and health organisations including The Food Foundation and Obesity Health Alliance have called for the delay to be overturned, while celebrity chef and healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver is planning a protest against the delay this Friday.
A ban on TV adverts for HFSS products before the 9pm watershed and on paid-for adverts online has also been delayed to January 2024, although rules limiting the location of HFSS foods in shops are scheduled to to go ahead in October 2022 as planned.