HFSS food & drinks

Clarity over meal deals and ‘big night in’ deals are being sought alongside 24 other questions by the trade associations

The food and drink industry has urged government to provide ‘clarity’ ahead of new restrictions on products high in saturated fat, salt and sugar due in October 2022.

The British Retail Consortium, Food & Drink Federation and the Association of Convenience Stores have submitted 25 questions to government today.

The queries highlight the confusion that retailers face when deciding where they can put products, and what they can and cannot promote in-store, according to the trade bodies.

Answers are being sought on how retailers are to calculate the size of their stores, how stores can promote HFSS products alongside non-food items and who is responsible for how products are promoted on online and ultra-fast delivery platforms.

Another area upon which the bodies are seeking clarity is the future of meal deals and ‘big night in’ deals.

ACS has estimated that small shops face a £13,000 bill to comply with the regulations, while larger stores face costs of up to £100,000 to rethink their layouts.

“We are committed to working with the government to ensure that retailers comply with the new regulations when they come into force, but the clock is ticking toward the implementation date and we’re no closer to having a clear set of regulations and guidance that retailers can follow,” said ACS CEO James Lowman.

“These regulations will force retailers into making huge changes to the way that their stores are laid out, as well as almost starting from scratch on the offers that they can provide to customers. With so many unanswered questions, the only sensible option is to delay the introduction of the rules to at least spring 2023 to allow everyone to prepare.”

FDF chief scientific officer Kate Halliwell added: “With a lack of guidance for industry, there is still much uncertainty around exactly which products will be impacted. The government also urgently needs to update its technical guidance which helps companies calculate if their products are ‘HFSS’ and subject to regulations. Without these key pieces of guidance, companies are struggling to prepare with only 11 months ’til the new rules come into force.”

BRC director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie has called for the regulations to be delayed until the spring of 2023 and warned that without clarity retailers “cannot start to carry out the required work to bring stores and websites to compliance, which will involve making major changes to the way stores are laid out and the promotions they can offer customers”.