Crackdown on junk food promotions set to come into force

BOGOF offers to be restricted under new proposed legislation

The government is set to impose tougher restrictions on junk food marketing, including a ban on buy-one-get-one free deals, and similar promotions, for food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).

According to reports, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party said in a joint letter to the prime minister today (25 April) that they would back the introduction of 13 separate measures to tackle obesity.

Central to the planned legislation being drawn up by Downing Street is a ban on buy-one-get-one-free deals for junk food.

The opposition leaders have also called for restrictions on junk food advertising on social media, a blanket 9pm watershed for food and drink advertising for HFFS products (which has already been supported by the likes of Cancer Research UK) and a ban on using cartoons or celebrities to promote unhealthy products.

Government sources cited by The Times suggested that a formal announcement of the legislation would be made before the end of June.

It comes amid an ongoing review into current junk food marketing rules by the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP), which is responsible for the setting the industry standards enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The watchdog has issued a call for evidence around the impact that junk food and drink TV ads have on children and will review how these products are targeted towards kids in non-broadcast settings, such as online and in out of home sites. .

Though there is currently a ban on junk food advertising around children’s TV programmes, a study conducted last year by Liverpool University found that children in the UK are still exposed to up to a dozen junk food ads per hour.

A single episode of The Voice broadcast on ITV, for example, was seen by 708,500 children and featured with no less than 12 ads for high-sugar and fat foods; including McVitie’s, Domino’s and Anchor butter.

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