Policy / Tuesday, 27 October, 2020

Restricting retail food promotions: implementation challenges could limit policy success

New plans to restrict point-of-sale promotions of less healthy foods and drinks in England, aim to encourage healthier choices. With responsibility for implementation likely falling to food retailers, it is important to understand feasibility challenges, to ensure policy success.

Researchers from LIDA applied the rules in the policy proposal to a database containing 45,000 food and drink products, to understand implementation feasibility from a retailer perspective.  They  found the data available to retailers to be insufficient to apply the rules set out by the proposal. This would see some products incorrectly promoted, and vice versa.

Lead researcher Vicki Jenneson also spoke with food industry Nutritionists from 6 UK retail and manufacturing businesses, to understand how implementation challenges could be addressed.

She explains “We recommend a review of the legislative basis to establish rules which align public health benefit with data feasibility.

Government support is needed, in the form of a free-to-use tool for consistent automated product assessment, and development of a data sharing platform, accessible to industry and the legislator.”

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For further information please contact Vicki Jenneson