The Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP(UK)) is supporting proposals to outlaw price promotions on food and drink products high in fat, salt or sugar, and to ban their sales in specified locations.
If implemented, the restrictions could remove a wide range of unhealthy items in England from prominent retail positions such as store entrances, aisle ends and checkouts, and bring an end to ‘Buy One Get One Free’, ‘free refills’ and similar deals on such products.
In a response to a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care, the Faculty argues that the proposed rules would be most effective, and most easily understand by businesses and consumers, if applied across the board, and said they should apply to all retail businesses, not just those whose main business is food and drink.
It added that while retailers should be primarily responsible for implementing the new rules, government should take responsibility for monitoring and enforcement, and manufacturers should be restricted from advertising volume-based price promotions on product packaging and banned from acting in a manner which encourages retailers to breach the restrictions.
The Faculty also backed a proposal to apply the rules to online retailers, arguing that the definitions used for the location-based restrictions could be expanded to cover key online selling locations such as home pages, banner advertising, interstitial and pop-up adverts, product suggestions, and prompts during checkout to add further products to online shopping baskets.
The Faculty’s response said:
“Multibuy and 'extra free' promotions encourage the purchase of more of a product than the consumer would have otherwise purchased; that is what they are there for. Restricting these will therefore contribute to reducing over-consumption, and the restrictions will be most effective when applied most widely. And according to the DHSC's impact assessment, the proposed location restrictions are likely to beget the greatest health benefit of all, with cost savings to the NHS alone of £3bn over the next 25 years.”
The full consultation response is available on the Policy, Reports and Consultations page.
A further consultation has begun on proposals to strengthen existing restrictions to advertising unhealthy food and drink on television and online, including the introduction of a 9pm watershed.