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November 11, 2020

UK government puts unhealthy food advertising ban out to consultation

The UK government has taken further action in regard to its proposals to ban online adverts promoting food high in fat, sugar and salt.

By Leonie Barrie

UK government proposals to ban online adverts promoting food high in fat, sugar and salt have been put out to consultation.

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What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

The next stage of the government’s plan to tackle the “obesity time bomb” in children follows the launch in July of a series of initiatives, including a ban on advertising foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) on television and online before 9pm when youngsters are most likely to see them.

In July, the UK government stated: “[We will be] banning the advertising of HFSS products being shown on TV and online before 9pm and holding a short consultation as soon as possible on how we introduce a total HFSS advertising restriction online”

The consultation, which will run for six weeks, will “gather views from the public and industry stakeholders to understand the impact and challenges of introducing a total ban on the advertising of these products online, to help people live healthier lives and tackle childhood obesity”.

It could result in the online ban becoming total rather than restricted to specific times.

The Government said its research shows children in the UK are exposed to more than 15 billion adverts for HFSS products online every year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am determined to help parents, children and families in the UK make healthier choices about what they eat.

“We know as children spend more time online, parents want to be reassured they are not being exposed to adverts promoting unhealthy foods, which can affect eating habits for life.

“This will be a world-leading measure to tackle the obesity challenges we face now but it will also address a problem that will only become more prominent in the future.”

Health campaigners have welcomed the move.

The British Heart Foundation said the proposed ban on online advertisements for this type of food would be a “big step forward” towards creating a healthier environment. 

And Professor Graham MacGregor, chair of Action on Sugar, said: “We very much welcome this consultation on whether only healthy food and drink should be advertised online as it gives the opportunity for ministers to hear from the many parents who are frustrated with their children being bombarded with advertising for unhealthy foods.    “As the message from the government has been to ‘stay home’ for much of the year in the fight against Covid-19, this will have no doubt vastly increased children’s exposure to such irresponsible marketing, which casts unhealthy products in the spotlight.    “It’s therefore vital that a total ban across all online platforms is introduced which would ensure that all loopholes, including paid-for promotions whereby brands are using marketing techniques to push junk food ads, would be firmly closed and help turn the tide on obesity.”

Industry body The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said the move “could not come at a worse time for food and drink manufacturers”. 

Kate Halliwell, the FDF’s head of UK diet and health policy, said: “It beggars belief that government would launch such an important and technically involved consultation at this time and with just six weeks to respond. 

“The length of the consultation potentially hampers industry’s ability to respond effectively at a time when businesses are facing enormous pressure.”

She added: “The industry is preparing for its busiest time of the year and working flat out to keep the nation fed through lockdown, all while facing down the very real threat of a no-deal Brexit.”

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Free Report
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What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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