Legislation which restricts the marketing and advertising of less healthy high fat, salt and sugar products (HFSS) will come into effect in October 2022.

The government have brought out these regulations which, in my opinion, seek to make buying less healthy food and drink harder (and I guess there is hope it will make people more healthy in their choices.)

These new regulations will not, however, come into force until 1st October 2022 and simply make the marketing and selling of less healthy foods and drink a little bit more difficult, and a bit more expensive to buy.

It is a complex task to determine whether a food or drink is “less healthy” (in law) as this requires a consideration of the amount of energy, fat, sugar and sodium is in the food.  You also have to take account of whether that food or drink contains fruit, vegetables or nuts.  Of course, customers are entitled to make up their own minds.

In law, to be “less healthy”, a food has to score 4 points or more.  For a drink to be “less healthy” it has to score 1 point or more.   The points system is generated using the Nutrient Profiling Technical Guidance (Zzzzzz!)

These new regulations will apply to typically larger businesses that sell pre-packed food of a certain type (the list is below) provided those foods are “less healthy”.

Basically, from 1 October 2022, such business will no longer be able to offer these “less healthy” foods as part of a promotion (for example: 3 for 2, 3 for £10; buy one get one free, buy 400g and 50% free).   That is likely to hit the consumer in the pocket.

Further, businesses will not be able to place such items within 2 metres of the checkout or queuing area, unless they are placed in an aisle (but not at the end).  (It may take the consumer a bit longer to find the item.)

So here is the list of food and drink that this affects:

  • Soft drinks containing added sugar
  • Savoury snacks
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Confectionary
  • Ice cream, lollies, frozen yoghurt and similar
  • Cakes and cupcakes
  • Sweet biscuits and bars based on nuts, seeds or cereal
  • Morning goods like croissants, pain au chocolat, pastries, crumpets, pancakes, buns teacakes, scones, waffles, fruit loaves
  • Desserts, puddings, pies, tarts, flans, cheesecake, gateaux, dairy desserts, sponge puddings, rice pudding, crumbles, fruit fillings, powdered desserts, custards, jellies, meringues
  • Sweetened yoghurt and fromage frais
  • Pizza
  • Roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, chips, fries, wedges, waffles, novelty potato shapes, hash brown, rosties, croquettes
  • Ready meals
  • Breaded or battered vegetables, fish or meat.

The new rules were initially scheduled to take place from April 2022, but the Government has since extended the deadline to 6 months later. There is a worry that this later deadline is still too early for supermarkets, who will have to make major changes within their shops, so as to not break any new laws.

Data accuracy, a higher expectation of corporate responsibility and keeping product catalogues updated are some of the biggest fears being named by supermarket chains, alongside the worry of breaking the legislation rules.

  • As a consumer, would the new changes impact the food you buy?
  • Do you think the Government are making the right decision in creating new laws to discourage consumers from eating unhealthy food?

Any questions or support with the above please email us at: philip@whitecollarlegalandadmin.com or phone 0151 230 8931.