sainsbury's bogof multibuy

Sir, As your pages clearly demonstrate, food and drink retailers and manufacturers are under increasing pressure to support the fight against obesity and restricted advertising is an important tool in the government’s arsenal. The question is, will it go so far as to legislate in this area, as reports of proposed new laws would have us believe?

If new legislation does get off the ground - and that’s a big if - the key areas to watch out for will be how ‘junk food’ and relevant ‘multibuys’ are defined legally, what kind of promotional advertising is prohibited, and the penalties for non-compliance.

It seems likely that volume discounts such as ‘buy one get one free’ offers will be at risk, but retailers are likely to resist any attempts to extend an advertising prohibition to price discounts.

The Advertising Standards Authority does not have the power to fine non-compliant advertisers, but new laws could introduce a fine for ­non-compliance and offences for non-compliant promotional deals.

Food and drink retailers and manufacturers should engage fully in any industry consultation on new laws in this area, and follow the timetable carefully to give themselves enough time to plan future promotional campaigns and avoid any disruption to existing promotional cycles.

Kerry Gwyther, partner at UK law firm TLT LLP