Source: The Grocer

A Poundland checkout queueing area in Crawley on 22 January

Poundland appears to still be struggling to comply with rules on food high in fat, sugar or salt, more than a year after they came into force.

Poundland stores in Crawley and Worthing in West Sussex have recently been prominently displaying chocolate or sweets in the checkout queueing area – or so-called temptation aisle – contrary to the rules.

The Crawley store was displaying HFSS confectionery in the checkout queueing area on 15 January and again on 22 January. By 29 January, the confectionery had been replaced with storage boxes, following enquiries from The Grocer. 

The Worthing store had HFSS sweets on display in the checkout queuing area on 31 January.

A Poundland spokesman said he was “sure they’ll put it right if the store’s got it wrong”.

Poundland Worthing HFSS January 2024

Source: The Grocer

Sweets line the checkout queuing area at Poundland in Worthing on 31 January 2024

Poundland was also not in full compliance with the rules in the weeks after they came into force at the start of October 2022. A spokesman said at the time that making stores fully compliant was taking a “few weeks”. He said HFSS products had been removed from checkout queueing areas by 19 October and further restrictions would be rolled out in a “phased way” from January 2023.

However, spot checks of stores in Brighton by The Grocer in September last year also found chocolate and sweets on the approach to the tills in a Poundland outlet in the city centre. On that occasion a Poundland spokesman said: “It would be totally incorrect to suggest we’re ignoring the rules. We’ve created very detailed, bespoke compliant merchandising briefs for every single store to apply the HFSS regulations as it relates to that store’s size. Where we find a store that’s out of compliance, we will endeavour to put that right.”

Read more: One year on: Have HFSS rules made any difference?

Under the rules, HFSS products should not be within two metres of a checkout or designated checkout queueing area. Examples of a designated checkout queueing area include somewhere lined by “units or shelving designed to guide customers” to the point of purchase.

Other restricted locations include gondola ends.

Poundland would not be the only retailer struggling with full compliance. An investigation in December found some supermarket stores were showing a “blatant disregard” for the government’s clampdown, while cash-strapped local authorities were unable to take effective action thanks to a chronic lack of enforcement staff.

The investigation by the Obesity Health Alliance found that while most stores had been operating “within the spirit of the law” since the rules came in, others had been largely ignoring them.