‘Bold first step’ – multi-buy offers on unhealthy snacks banned in supermarkets

'Buy one get one free' promotions on unhealthy snacks will be cut back in supermarkets‘Buy one get one free’ promotions on unhealthy snacks will be cut back under new government plans to clamp down on obesity. 

From April 2022, restrictions are to be placed on multi-buy offers on sugary products in supermarkets across the UK.

Free refills on soft drinks will also be banned under the new plans.

The limits will only apply to companies employing more than 50 people and stores spanning more than 2,000 square feet.

Campaigners called it an ‘important policy’ and a ‘bold first step’ towards improving the nation’s health.

Push for responsible retailing

Professor Graham MacGregor is the chair of Action on Sugar, a group working to highlight the harmful effects of sugar.

‘Finally, Downing Street is acting decisively. This is a bold first step to restrict the sale of junk food on multi-buy offers and at checkouts, and taking on one of the biggest threats to Britain’s future health – childhood obesity,’ he said.

‘This important policy specifically targets the most sugar-laden food and drinks packed with excessive calories. It will provide a level playing field for responsible retailers, enabling them to promote healthier options to families.

‘To bypass the restrictions and improve our health further, manufacturers have the opportunity to reformulate their less healthy products into healthier versions over the next two years. The government has already bowed to industry lobbying and watered down their own Childhood Obesity Plan. But it has promised the restrictions will come into force.

‘Putting junk food multi-buy offers in the aisles and at the checkouts is just another way food companies sneak their unhealthy products into your basket. Now is the time for healthier food to take centre stage.’

‘Ineffective’ obesity battle

This comes as a study found Boris Johnson’s drive to tackle obesity has been ‘largely ineffective’.

Last summer, the Prime Minister urged people to get fit after transmitting COVID-19 earlier in the year. Data shows that being obese significantly increases the chances of hospitalisation and death from coronavirus.

But research by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) revealed more than 35% of those with obesity report not yet taking action – but are considering doing so.

Equally, 28% of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic would not lead them to attempt to lose weight.


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