The government said on Saturday that it required more time because of the cost of living issue to implement new laws prohibiting multi-buy deals on foods and drinks high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS).
The ban on the promotions, which included ‘buy one, get one free, 3 for 2,’ and restrictions on free soft drink refills, was set to take effect in October.
Anti-obesity activists were enraged by the delay.
Higher-than-expected global oil and commodities prices have impacted economies around the world, partly due to the conflict in Ukraine, resulting in higher costs across supply chains that harm both businesses and consumers.
‘Pausing limitations on buy one, get one free bargains will allow us to better study their impact on consumers in light of the extraordinary global economic crisis,’ said public health minister Maggie Throup.
The Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom slammed the delay.
Professor Rachel Batterham, the RCP’s special adviser on obesity, stated, ‘This is terribly sad and short-sighted, especially in light of the recent World Health Organization data revealing that only the United States has a greater obesity rate than Europe.’
New restrictions prohibiting HFSS advertisements on television before 9 p.m. and paid web advertisements will be suspended for a year, meaning they will not take effect until January 2024.
This was attributed to a ‘increasing realisation that the sector requires more time to prepare’ as well as a ‘delay in the legislative process.’
New laws limiting the availability of HFSS foods in supermarkets, on the other hand, will go into effect in October as planned.
Less healthful items will no longer be advertised in high-visibility areas including checkout lines, store entrances, aisle ends, and their online equivalents.