he UK government is restricting promotions on unhealthy foods and banning free refills of sugary soft drinks in the hospitality sector.
The u-turn has been made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as obesity can lead to a higher risk of death and harsher symptoms.
The announcement has been made together with the launch of an eight-week industry consultation on how the policy should be implemented. Led by the Department of Health and Social Care, it focuses on the products that are significant contributors to sugar and calorie intakes in children and that are heavily promoted.
Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6 billion a year. The government describes obesity as one of the UK’s biggest health crises. Almost two thirds, 63%, of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity and one in three children leave primary school overweight or obese.
The restrictions on promotions are:
- Restrictions at store entrances, aisle ends, checkouts and their online equivalents such as homepages, landing pages, shopping basket or payment pages
- Volume price restrictions such as “buy one get one free” or “3 for 2” offers on high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) products
- Free refills of sugary soft drinks will be prohibited in the eating-out sector
- Location restrictions will apply to shops over 2,000 square feet – specialist retailers, such as chocolate shops, are exempt from the location restrictions
- Prepacked food and drink in the following categories will be restricted if they are considered HFSS: soft drinks, cakes, chocolate confectionery, sugar confectionery, ice cream, pastries, puddings, sweet biscuits, breakfast cereals, yogurts, milk-based drinks with added sugar, juice-based drinks with added sugar, pizza, ready meals, meal centres, including breaded and battered products, crisps and savoury snacks, chips and similar potato products
The 2004 to 2005 Nutrient Profiling Model will be used to define whether a product is HFSS.