The UK government is shaking up the F&B business by adopting new legislation that places promotional restrictions on HFSS foods, and these changes in the UK could spur discussion in Australia for similar rules that could alter the retail game, writes Polly Yule.
From cereal and ice cream to chips and chocolate, the way foods with high fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS) are promoted in stores is changing.
In the UK, the government is shaking up the food and beverage industry by introducing new legislation in October 2022 that places promotional restrictions on HFSS foods.
The decision aims to reduce obesity levels across the UK with the long-term goal of shaping children’s food preferences. This new legislation will have major ramifications for retailers and food manufacturers who produce and sell these products.
They are now banned from certain placements in stores, including the end of the aisle, located outside the usual shelf area and the checkout. From 2023, they also won’t be able to conduct in-store volume sales promotions, a delayed restriction due to the current rise in the cost of living.
Australia’s obesity problem
While this radical move by the UK government hasn’t come to Australian shores, our country does have a serious obesity problem. About 14 million Australians are living with obesity, which is two in every three adults, and one in four children. However, the government is taking steps to reduce obesity in Australia with its National Obesity Strategy, an ambitious 10-year framework designed to create systemic change.
The report proposes several measures to achieve its goal, including stricter rules regarding HFSS advertising on television, sports and major sporting events, and in supermarkets. Implementing the recommendations would reduce exposure to unhealthy food and drink marketing, promotion, and sponsorship for children. In the future, fast food collectable promotions may also be scrapped or heavily restricted.
The report also discusses the importance of working with supermarket chains to prevent the targeting of advertising and promotion of HFSS foods to more at-risk people, particularly those in low socioeconomic areas. Supermarkets have a real opportunity to do more to support this strategy to help Australians choose better fo