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Government bans unhealthy snacks at supermarket checkouts

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The Government has announced a ban on unhealthy snacks at checkouts in England, as part of a range of measures to tackle the national obesity crisis.

Food for Life welcomes these positive new measures to promote healthy eating choices as easy choices.

The Government’s action plan includes:

  • Restricting the display of unhealthy food and drinks at checkouts, store entrances and end of aisles
  • Excluding these from ‘buy one, get one free’ offers
  • Removal of these food and drinks from prominent display on websites, including homepages, checkouts and payment pages
  • Restaurants will no longer be able to offer free refills of sugary drinks

Rob Percival, Head of Policy, Food and Health at Soil Association, says:

It’s great that the Government is looking to tackle obesity head-on in the upcoming year. When we go to the supermarket, healthy and sustainable options need to be the easy choice. The proposals are a step towards this and also normalising healthier diets. Rather than being unwillingly confronted with the temptation of an offer on a delicious but unhealthy snack, there should be greater visibility of healthier and tasty alternatives. No doubt there will be strong opposition to the proposals in the upcoming consultation, but we hope the Government will be resolute in taking health seriously and not be swayed.

There also needs to be a wider scope of which products are included in the plan. The current proposals only focus on fat, salt and sugar content. However, the level of food processing is also associated with health impacts. Ultra-processed food has been associated with obesity as well as other non-communicable diseases. If the Government is to take the health of the nation seriously, they should adopt our recommendation of a reduction target for ultra-processed food.


You can read the Soil Association’s report on ultra-processed foods here