New government obesity strategy

Date : 28 July 2020

The government has published a new version of the Obesity Strategy, which includes a series of measures intended to reduce excess weight and ill-health.

Compared with previous policy iterations in this area, the new Strategy is bolder and more prescriptive. It also shifts focus from children to the general population.

Key measures include:

  • Controls on ads for food that is high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS)
  • Stricter controls on promotions for HFSS foods, such as BOGOFs and dual siting
  • Calorie information to be printed on menus, in larger foodservice businesses
  • Consultation on calorie labelling for alcoholic drinks
  • New “Better Health” campaign, using COVID-19 as a “wake-up call”
  • Extra NHS support for weight loss
  • Consultation on front-of-pack nutrition labelling

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Front-of-pack “traffic light” labelling is seen as generally successful and popular with citizens, but the government is keen to explore possible alternatives and “best practice” from around the world.

Note that IGD has previously carried out extensive research on how shoppers use front-of-pack labelling and offers a guide for businesses

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The decision to link weight control to COVID-19 is especially noteworthy - there is evidence to suggest that vulnerability to the virus is increased by excess weight, as well as pre-existing medical conditions.

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