Media Planning and Buying Future of TV Future of TV

IPA welcomes possible U-turn by Liz Truss on HFSS ad ban plans


By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

September 14, 2022 | 3 min read

New government could scrap incoming ban on advertising products that are high in fat, salt and sugar before 9pm.

Liz Truss government to scrap HFSS ad ban?

Liz Truss government to scrap HFSS ad ban? / Pexels

One week after being sworn in as prime minister, Liz Truss is thought to be overhauling a suite of Boris Johnson’s obesity regulations in a bid to reduce business costs.

A statement from Richard Lindsay, legal and public affairs director at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), reaffirmed the trade body’s ongoing stance that the policy “would do nothing to address the problem of childhood obesity that all of us want to solve, but would have a damaging impact on businesses”. He added that the “government’s own evidence” has substantiated that claim.

The regulation, which was due to come into law in January 2024, would prohibit UK broadcasters from showing adverts for products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) before 9pm, while HFSS advertisers would be banned from placing paid-for adverts online.

The IPA, along with the Advertising Association and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (Isba) have been at loggerheads with the government over the regulation since it was first floated in 2020.

“That we are still waiting for a government consultation to provide details of the restrictions just adds to the uncertainty for businesses,” said Lindsay.

In May, under Johnson’s leadership, the government pushed back the implementation of the ad ban by a year to help the ad industry prepare and seek further consultation. In response to the delay, Isba’s director general Phil Smith said: “With the UK in the grip of a cost of living crisis and with the spectre of rising inflation, we need a total focus on supporting our food manufacturing and broadcast industries to grow and invest.”

Along with the watershed HFSS ban, newly appointed health secretary Thérèse Coffey will review the ban on sugary products being displayed at checkouts, multi-buy deals in shops and even the high sugar drink tax.

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