The federal government has delayed plans to crackdown on unhealthy meals promotions for a 12 months.
Promotions reminiscent of buy-one-get-one-free (Bogof) affords and additional free offers on merchandise excessive in fats, salt and sugar (HFSS) would have been banned underneath the brand new measures, a part of the broader Weight problems Technique, in October.
As an alternative the promotions shall be banned in October 2023.
The Division of Well being and Social Care (DHSC) stated the brand new measures would have coincided with an increase in vitality and items costs.
The ban on HFSS adverts on TV before 9pm and paid-for adverts on-line can also be being delayed for a 12 months and can as a substitute come into pressure in January 2024, because of a delay to the Well being and Care Invoice receiving royal ascent and the business needing extra time to arrange, the federal government stated.
It additionally stated a session on TV and paid-for-adverts on-line could be launched within the coming weeks.
Well being campaigners had been dismayed on the information, with one accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “taking part in politics” with kids’s well being.
Authorities shouldn’t be ‘delaying and dithering’
Nonetheless, Public Well being Minister Maggie Throup stated: “We’re dedicated to doing every little thing we are able to to assist folks reside more healthy lives.
“Pausing restrictions on offers like purchase one get one free will permit us to know its impression on shoppers in mild of an unprecedented international financial state of affairs.”
However Barbara Crowther, of the Youngsters’s Meals Marketing campaign, stated the federal government shouldn’t be “delaying and dithering” however ought to transfer sooner on Bogof offers.
“Weight problems is spiking and thousands and thousands of households cannot afford to place correct meals on the desk. Multi-buy affords make folks spend extra on junk, and fewer on wholesome meals,” she stated.
“This delay threatens the UK goal to halve childhood weight problems by 2030. Boris is taking part in politics with our youngsters’s well being.”
Shadow public well being minister Andrew Gwynne stated: “Boris Johnson’s desperation to cling on to his job means the ideology of Conservative MPs is being positioned above kids’s well being.
“As an alternative of chopping childhood weight problems, stopping ill-health and easing stress on the NHS, this chaotic authorities is performing one other U-turn.”
Delaying restrictions ‘is sensible’
Nonetheless the “pragmatism” of the federal government’s motion was welcomed by business physique the Meals and Drink Federation (FDF).
Kate Halliwell, the FDF’s chief scientific officer, stated: “At a time when each households and our producers are combating excessive inflation, it is sensible to delay the restrictions on quantity promotions for on a regular basis foods and drinks merchandise, together with breakfast cereals, prepared meals and yoghurts, because it risked additional stretching already-pressed family budgets.
“We additionally welcome the delay to the beginning of promoting restrictions, given the time it’ll take our business to arrange for the change in regulation.”
Restrictions on the location of much less wholesome merchandise in key areas reminiscent of checkouts, retailer entrances and aisle ends and their on-line equivalents will nonetheless come into impact in October.
The federal government stated addressing weight problems stays a precedence as it’ll scale back the pressure placed on the NHS as it really works to deal with the COVID backlog.
Final month, the federal government launched calorie labelling in massive eating places, cafes and takeaways.