Tesco has pledged to continue with the proposed ban on HFSS multibuy promotions despite the recent government U-turn which delayed the restrictions until October 2023.
The UK’s largest supermarket will be going ahead with the controversial HFSS policy which will see multibuy deals on ‘unhealthy’ foods and drinks – such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) and ‘three for two’ – being banned entirely.
Tesco said it will work closely with suppliers to help make the changes but added that it remained committed to supporting customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives.
Recent research showed that Tesco customers found it hard to change shopping habits, with the vast majority (86%) saying they want to eat more healthily, while a further 77% want help from supermarkets in doing so.
The move is part of Tesco’s wider commitment to support customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives and achieve the goal to boost sales of healthy products to 65% as a proportion of total sales by 2025; a target it set following pressure from investors’ campaign group ShareAction.
It also recently launched Better Baskets, a campaign that is designed to help customers shop a healthier and more sustainable basket, without compromising on price.
“Our mission is to make Tesco the easiest place to shop for a healthy, more sustainable basket – while keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check,” said Tesco UK & ROI CEO Jason Tarry.
“It’s vital we keep making the right calls on behalf of customers and communities. Customers are telling us they want to eat a more healthy, sustainable diet, but without having to stretch the weekly shopping budget. We agree and, thanks to our laser-focus on great value, customers won’t need to make that compromise at Tesco. “
Tesco chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini added: “We will always make sure our products are competitively priced. But we can’t stop there.
“Obesity levels are rising among adults and children and the health of our nation must also be at the top of our agenda.”
The move is expected to pile pressure on other retailers to make a similar commitment, as the government’s U-turn has come under criticism from a number of areas.
Leading food industry experts and health organisations including The Food Foundation and Obesity Health Alliance have calling for it to be overturned, while celebrity chef and healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver has also called on Boris Johnson to rethink the U-turn, urging the public to join his ‘Eton mess’ protest 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.