UK delays ban on junk food offers in supermarkets and advertisements before watershed | Food industry

Government must delay ban on ‘buy one, get one free’ deals on junk food and a turn before 9pm on TV advertising, as Boris Johnson puts the cost of living crisis ahead of a pledge to tackle the growing problem of obesity in the UK.

The Prime Minister is said to have decided to delay implementing the policies for at least a year – and possibly scrap them altogether – after chairing a ministerial meeting on Wednesday seeking ideas to help ease the cost crisis of life.

The decision to postpone the new measures, which were designed to be among the toughest marketing restrictions in the world, immediately drew criticism from health campaigners.

Jamie Oliver, a longtime campaigner for healthy eating, said Johnson needed to show ‘real leadership’ and stop making excuses not to move forward with the national anti-coronavirus strategy. obesity.

“It’s a wasted opportunity and it’s starting to erode the whole obesity strategy,” he said. “Policies such as restricting junk food advertising to children are crucial to taking it to the next level and are popular with the public.

“Parents and children don’t want to hear any more excuses from the government. I really hope that the Prime Minister will prove me wrong and show real leadership in providing young people with a healthier and fairer future.

The ban on ‘Bogof’ promotions was due to come into force from October, but as households struggle to cope with rising energy bills and inflation at a 40-year high, the removal cheap offers is now seen as a risky political decision.

According to multiple sources, the government will continue to ban junk food promotions in certain prominent stores, such as aisle ends, checkouts and entrances, as well as prominent positions in apps and websites. supermarkets.

Last month, Kellogg’s, owner of cereals such as Coco Pops and Special K, filed a lawsuit against the government on the grounds that the rules would prevent the brand from promoting some of its products prominently on shelves.

The government is also delaying the implementation of a ban on TV advertisements for foods high in fat, salt and sugar before 9 p.m., which was due to come into force from January. It is also believed the delay will extend to plans to ban online junk food advertising.

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The timetable for introducing the TV and online advertising ban was already under pressure as the government has yet to launch consultation on how the ban will work, such as the penalties for breaches. It is understood that there was already a mechanism built into the plans to potentially delay the start of the ban.

Boris Johnson was reportedly convinced by ministers that the bans would be hugely costly for the food and advertising industries at a time when the economy is under intense pressure, according to the Times, which first reported on the plans of the government to delay.

Each year, over £600m is spent by brands on food advertising online and on TV. The ban on TV adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar before 9pm may have cost broadcasters, such as ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, more than £200million in revenue per year.

“Obesity is skyrocketing and millions of families cannot afford adequate food,” said Barbara Crowther of the Children’s Food Campaign. “Multiple buy offers encourage people to spend more on bric-a-brac and less on healthy food. This delay threatens the UK’s target to halve child obesity by 2030. Boris plays politics with the health of our children.

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Edward L. Robinett