More than 100 people across the UK’s food supply chain were interviewed for the study by the University of Southampton and City.
- Shoppers join food industry and health experts in backing UK plans to ban high fat, salt and sugar products from checkouts, store entrances and aisle ends
- Consumers and retailers were asked about the impact of new government legislation aiming to restrict how unhealthy food is sold
- Scientists behind investigation say ban can curb impulse buys that cause obesity – but warn of loopholes and limited resources that could undermine health benefits
A ban on selling junk foods from store entrances, aisle ends and checkouts should continue after a new study found the plans were largely backed by the British public and food industry.
Legislation to restrict the placement of products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) was introduced by the UK government in October last year as part of efforts to tackle obesity.
More than 100 people across the UK’s food supply chain were interviewed for the investigation, which was led by researchers from University of Southampton and City, University of London, and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
Investigation lead Professor Christina Vogel, Deputy Director of the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London, labelled the plans a “world leading” move that could shift the UK away from unhealthy and unsustainable diets, if adopted alongside other anti-obesity legislations.
The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that retailers, manufacturers, consumers, enforcement officers and health representatives across England’s food system felt the legislation is a good first step towards tackling obesity.
However, the results did reveal concerns about the exemption of certain foods and businesses, the high cost of healthy products, and the possibility that some businesses may exploit loopholes to continue marketing nutritionally-poor products – which could weaken the intended effects of the legislation.
Dr Sarah Muir, from the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre at the University of Southampton, said:
The study also identified that smaller businesses need extra support to offer healthier foods while remaining financially secure. Local authorities who are working with businesses in their area to support compliance also need ring-fenced resources because their teams are already stretched.
Preeti Dhuria, also from the University of Southampton, added:
Read the study in the journal, BMC Medicine.
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