sainsburys local aisle promo

Sainsbury’s has criticised the government’s decision to shelve the ban on HFSS multibuy promotions, warning such moves will see it fail to tackle the obesity crisis.

As revealed by The Grocer last week, the retailer, along with Tesco, has vowed to continue with a self-imposed ban on HFSS bogofs and other multibuy deals for unhealthy products.

Today, commercial director Rhian Bartlett told MPs on the cross-party Business & Trade Committee the supermarket had been left feeling “frustrated” at the government’s u-turn.

It follows a previous decision by the government to postpone its proposed clampdown on HFSS ads on TV and online until at least October 2025, the new date set for its multibuy ban. It is widely believed the government may go on to axe them altogether.

“There is a frustration that it has only gone ahead with one element,” said Bartlett. “We have prepared all of our stores for these moves and having only a ban on locations of these products isn’t enough.”

Campaign groups including Sustain, Diabetes UK and the Obesity Health Alliance, have written an open letter to all UK food retailers urging them to follow the lead taken by Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

“We urge you to stand firm despite the government delay,” it says. “We call on all retailers to join you, so that when the legislation finally comes into force, you have shown leadership in achieving the transformation we need.

“We will be following the response of the food retail sector closely and remain ready to champion the efforts of those retailers working hardest to achieve healthier in-store experiences for their customers, and a healthier future for our children.”