The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) raised serious concerns about the Government’s announcement last week that bans on promotions of unhealthy ‘junk’ foods would be delayed.
A ban on junk food advertising online and before 9pm on television was due to come into force in January 2023, introduced as part of the recent Health and Care Act 2022. This has been delayed until January 2024.
A ban on promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free (BOGOF) offers and extra free deals on products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) was due to come into force in October 2022 under the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021. This has also been delayed until October 2023. The Government has said the new measures would have coincided with a rise in energy and goods prices.
Kate Thompson, Director of CIEH Wales, said: “The government published its obesity strategy in July 2020, noting that around two-thirds of adults are above a healthy weight and one in three children leaving primary school are overweight or obese. Delaying these measures blows a hole in the government’s commitment in the strategy to tackling one of the biggest long-term health challenges that this country faces.”
“Obesity prevalence is highest amongst the most deprived groups in society and we know food choices are shaped and influenced through advertising in its many forms. These delays will do nothing for levelling up and reducing health disparities around the country. We would like to see more government-backed economic incentives to promote healthy eating, so the healthy choice becomes the easy and affordable choice.”