New package of legislation to target obesity

woman with shopping basket Print publication


In July 2020, Government announced a raft of measures to be enacted as part of Government’s new obesity strategy.

The measures include:

  • banning unhealthy food adverts – new legislation will ban the advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on television and online before 9pm. Ahead of this, Government will hold a consultation on whether the ban on online adverts for HFSS, should apply at all times of day
  • banning ‘BOGOF’ offers – new legislation will ban volume promotions of HFSS foods. There will also be a ban on these items being placed in prominent locations in stores, such as at checkouts and entrances, and online. Shops will be encouraged to promote healthier choices and offer more discounts on food like fruit and vegetables
  • calorie labelling – new legislation will require restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees to add calorie labels to the food they sell
  • alcohol calorie labelling – a consultation will be launched on plans to provide calorie labelling on alcohol. It is hoped alcohol labelling could lead to a reduction in consumption
  • front-of-pack nutritional labelling –a consultation will be launched to gather evidence on the current ‘traffic light’ labelling system. Government is considering adopting elements of a mandatory system pioneered in Chile, which uses stark black and white “STOP: high in” labels to indicate they are high in fat, sugar or salt.

Although, in theory, any plans to help combat obesity should be welcomed, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has warned of dire consequences for the industry warning that the measures could cost the sector £1.7 billion per year. Tim Rycroft from the FDF was quoted as saying “it is extraordinary that the Government is proposing a ban on promotions of food and drink in retail at such a precarious economic time“.

WM comment

At the moment Government hasn’t issued any timescale for bringing in the new legislation. We will monitor the situation and update you once it is known when these measures are to take effect.