One third of ‘buy one get one free’ and multibuy deals are on unhealthy food, new research shows.
The Food Foundation found that just 3% of volume promotions or multibuys available in supermarkets are on staple carbohydrates, 3.8% on fruit and vegetables and 1% on milk.
This comes despite 17% of households experiencing food insecurity.
In October 2022, the first set of restrictions to high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products were rolled out in supermarkets, banning these items from store entrances, gondola ends and checkout areas.
While the government made the change in a bid to limit England’s rising obesity levels, it has since delayed further restrictions, including on multibuy and BOGOF deals.
Originally planned to roll out alongside location restrictions last year, this has since been delayed until 2025.
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In June, prime minister, Rishi Sunak told The Guardian: “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.”
Despite the delay, Tesco has said it will push ahead with not selling HFSS products through multibuys.
Of the retailers that do offer volume promotions or multibuy deals, the Food Foundation said that Tesco offers the smallest portion (6.2%) of unhealthy items on promotion.
Food Foundation executive director, Anna Taylor, said: “Levels of food insecurity remain worryingly high.
“With food price inflation falling only very slowly, we need both government and retailers to urgently step up and support households through the cost-of-living crisis. That support needs to make sure that families are able to access and afford healthy staples such as fruit and veg.
“Running promotional deals on junk food simply makes it even harder for many to access and afford nutritious food.”