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  • Thursday, 29 February 2024
Survey Reveals Supermarkets' Non-compliance with Childhood Obesity Rules

Survey Reveals Supermarkets' Non-compliance with Childhood Obesity Rules

Title: "Survey Reveals Supermarkets' Non-compliance with Childhood Obesity Rules"


In a recent survey conducted by the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) and Food Active, it was discovered that some supermarkets in England are neglecting regulations aimed at curbing childhood obesity. Approximately 25 stores were surveyed, revealing that around 25% of them placed sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks, or other "less healthy" foods in prominent locations, such as near checkouts or in end-of-aisle displays.


The report, titled "Location, Location, Location," highlighted that certain supermarket stores exhibited a blatant disregard for the policy and the health of children. This violation of regulations extended to online platforms as well.


The findings come a year after the introduction of government regulations on food promotion and placement in England. These regulations empower trading standards or environmental health officers to fine large supermarkets if they prominently display foods high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS). Notably, the Scottish government has not implemented similar restrictions, and in Wales, comparable rules will only take effect in 2025.


Trading standards officers, as revealed in the report, cited a lack of resources for inspecting shops, while some store managers were reportedly unaware of the new regulations.


Despite these breaches, Katharine Jenner, director of the OHA, acknowledged the positive step taken by most supermarkets in relocating sweets and sugary treats away from checkouts. However, she pointed out that exemptions in the policy still allow many unhealthy products to remain highly visible both in-store and online.


The rules, applicable to larger retailers with over 50 employees or stores larger than 2,000sqft, aim to shift unhealthy food options away from prominent locations. While there is no blanket ban on specific types of food, the regulations have contributed to a noticeable shift in consumer behavior, with healthier impulse food sales rising by 5.6% in the first nine months following the changes.


Despite the positive impact on consumer choices, the report emphasizes that there is still work to be done to ensure compliance, particularly as obesity remains a significant issue affecting nearly three in 10 adults in the UK.


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