Supermarkets want to ‘further delay’ rules on high fat, salt and sugar

The majority of supermarkets want to further delay the enforcement of a new law that will restrict promotion of high fat, salt, and sugar food (HFSS) in their shops, according to new research.

A study conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Spoon Guru, the AI nutrition tech start-up, surveyed 101 respondents from UK Retailers within the food and beverage industry.

Those surveyed are from the top 11 supermarkets as ranked by each respondent, who are decision makers for the company’s compliance and regulation and have a role to play in the HFSS legislation changes.

The report found that two thirds – 61 per cent – of respondents think the current delay should be further increased by seven months or more.

It also revealed that a quarter of those surveyed feel they are uninformed about what the HFSS legislation will entail.

In July the government said that it would extend the implementation date of the rules which will restrict unhealthy food promotions in store from April to October 2022.

But Spoon Guru warned that it had not yet announced details on which products would be classed as HFSS foods. According to the company, supermarkets will have to assess the name brands as well their own label products to ensure they meet new regulations.

The research suggests that more than a third – 35 per cent – of supermarkets are concerned that they will end up falling foul of the new rules.

“We understand why the government has delayed the enforcement of this legislation,” said Johanna Bolinder, head of health and sustainability at Spoon Guru. “The HFSS changes undoubtedly carry several bureaucratic hallmarks in that this is very complex legislation which many people are struggling to understand and implement. The good news is that we can help. Retailers and the government need to work with technology companies like ourselves to make the transition easier for everyone.”

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