Who: The government, local authorities, medium and large businesses selling HFSS products.
Where: United Kingdom
When: 28 December 2020
The UK government has launched a public consultation on its draft regulations banning price and location promotions on high fat, salt and sugar foods (HFSS). This follows the government’s announcement in its July 2020 publication, “Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives” that it will legislate to end the promotion of HFSS products by volume and location, both online and in store.
The government has made it clear that it is seeking views on the clarity of the regulations to ensure they are fit for purpose, rather than re-visiting policy decisions.
Under the draft legislation, businesses who sell pre-packaged HFSS products and are not specialist stores (such as a sweets shops), will face restrictions on how HFSS products can be promoted and where they can be displayed. For instance:
- Volume promotions of HFSS products such as “buy one get one free” will be banned, and
- HFSS products will not be allowed to be located at a store entrance, on an end of aisle display or two metres within a checkout. Equally, HFSS products will not be permitted to appear on a website’s homepage or checkout page.
The government is proposing that local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the regulations. In order to facilitate cooperation in the first instance, local authorities will be encouraged to issue an improvement notice requiring the business’s compliance, before a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500 is issued. However, local authorities will have a range of enforcement options, including criminal as well as civil penalties.
Why this matters:
Businesses with over 50 or more employees will need to assess which of their products fall within the scope of the regulations and are considered to be HFSS products. This classification may require liaising with the manufacturers, but ultimately retailers will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the restrictions on location and volume promotions.
Retailers were requested to submit feedback regarding the clarity of the regulations via the government’s survey by 22 February 2021, in order to ensure the final regulations are unambiguous and appropriate.
The legislation is expected to come into force by mid-2021.