Government restrictions on HFSS multibuy deals and advertising delayed for a year due to cost of living crisis.
Today the government announced a U-turn on restricting multibuy and TV and online advertising of HFSS foods, however restrictions on the location of HFSS foods are still due to begin in October 2022 as planned.
Citing the unprecedented global economic situation and the need to give the industry more time to prepare, the ban on multibuy deals including ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ or ‘two-for-one’ deals will be delayed by twelve months, whilst the ban of online and pre-watershed TV HFSS advertising has also been postponed by a year until January 2024, whilst another consultation is to be launched by ministers.
Only the location restrictions remain in place and are due to begin this in October 2022, when the placement of HFSS products in key locations such as store entrances, checkouts and ends of aisles (and their online equivalents) will be outlawed. Because of the global energy crisis and increased costs that are widely affecting businesses and customers, the government is hoping that a delay to the price restrictions will allow them to monitor their impact on the cost of living.
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives. Pausing restrictions on deals like buy one get one free will allow us to understand its impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.”
The delays to implementing HFSS rules are welcome because we are in the midst of a cost of living crisis where customers are struggling with fuel costs and food inflation. However a poll held by PromoVeritas during our recent HFSS Webinar revealed that 75% of the brands and retailers attending are still unsure about the new rules, and that 47% of them are unprepared for the changes – proving that the temporary reprieve will be a relief to them.
Worryingly, retailers and brands need far more time and money to implement changes to store layouts and fixtures so it makes little sense for the location restrictions to still begin this October. The recent government guidance has some gaps, and the new rules will be confusing and often expensive to employ. The cost implication of the new location rules may be a kiss of death to smaller retailers, or no doubt will be passed on by the stores to cash-strapped consumers in October 2022.