Fatty and sugary food and drink consulation launched

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Bottomed: campaigners call to end free sugary drink refills
Bottomed: campaigners call to end free sugary drink refills

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Pubs could come under more pressure as the Government launches a consultation on whether or not to ban fatty and sugar food promotions.
  • The original headline 'Toby Carvery and Harvester in bottomless soft drink flak' was taken down after an error was spotted

The Department of Health advisers has launched a 12-week consultation on whether to ban the promotion of food and drink that is high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).

Views are being sought on ‘multibuy’ promotions of HFSS products, including buy one, get-one free offers and bottomless drinks.

Childhood obesity plan

The consultation is the second part of the Government’s childhood obesity plan, but asks whether small businesses should be exempt from any ban.

Public health minister Steve Brine said: “Preventing ill health is critical to our long-term plan for the NHS and I want to do everything in my power to keep people healthy for longer.

“This must start with the health and nutrition of our children.”

However, UK Hospitality (UKH) CEO Kate Nicholls condemned the consultation and its timing, arguing that the hospitality sector was still regaining its strength following other hurdles as well as facing uncertainty in the run-up to Brexit.

“It is staggering that Government has launched this consultation now, while the food industry is trying to manage planning for a 'no deal' Brexit,” she said.

The nanny state

“It also jars with recent comments from the health secretary stating now is the time to stop legislating to deal with the excesses of the few, and to rein back the nanny state.”

While UKH said it supported efforts to promote healthier eating habits, with the sector continuing to action in various areas, any offers in the trade were to help cash-strapped consumers.

“Price promotions in the out-of-home sector are designed to provide good value to hard-pressed consumers, which our members do on a daily basis, allowing people the opportunity to treat themselves when dining out,” Nicholls explained.

“Year-on-year food inflation has climbed to over 6%, so this latest proposal is clearly unhelpful and, with more uncertainty in food supply on the horizon because of Brexit, means the sector faces challenging times ahead.

“Hospitality businesses need a supportive operating environment, not nanny state measures that will restrict choice and lead to higher prices for consumers.”

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