Promotional restrictions on high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products have been pushed back until October 2025.
The policy which looks to tackle obesity levels was due to roll out on 1 October 2023, and comes following location restrictions on HFSS products which first hit stores and supermarkets across England in 2022.
The promotional restrictions will see convenience store businesses with more than 50 employees and supermarkets unable to offer multibuy promotions on HFSS products, such as ‘three for £10’.
Products deemed ‘unhealthy’ will no longer be featured in ‘buy one get one free’ promotions from October 2025 and will not be able to be promoted alongside non-food products such as ‘buy a soft drink and get a newspaper free.’
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“I firmly believe in people’s right to choose – and at a time when household budgets are under continuing pressure from the global rise in food prices, it is not fair for government to restrict the options available to consumers on their weekly shop,” Prime minister, Rishi Sunak told The Guardian.
“It is right that we consider carefully the impact on consumers and businesses, while ensuring we’re striking the balance with our important mission to reduce obesity and help people live healthier lives.”
Many health organisations and charities have campaigned for the restrictions to come into play this year, as the policy has previously been delayed, originally intended to roll out alongside loactions restrictions in October 2022.
However, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief ececutive, James Lowman has said the delay will be “welcomed by consumers who are facing enough challenges with inflation.”
He explained that is is also “welcome relief” for ACS members who are “already struggling with high energy prices, rising interest rates and increasing costs from suppliers.”
“Far more stores are subject to these regulations than the location restrictions on these products, which were introduced last year and which only apply to stores over 2,000 square feet.”
Lowman added that the delay also allows Scotland and Wales additional time to align their regulations with England “to avoid confusion and unnecessary problems for customers, retailers and suppliers.”