Special offers for unhealthy foods in key locations will be limited to curb obesity

‘Creating an environment which helps everyone eat healthier foods more regularly is crucial to improving the health of the nation,’ says public health minister

<p>Restaurants and cafes will not be able to sell free refills of sugary soft drinks as part of the government measures to support Britons to eat and drink more healthily.</p>

Restaurants and cafes will not be able to sell free refills of sugary soft drinks as part of the government measures to support Britons to eat and drink more healthily.

Special offers and discounts for unhealthy foods in key locations in shops and online will be curbed from April 2022 to reduce obesity.

The government announced shops will be blocked from offering promotions such as “buy one get one free” or “3 for 2” on such items under the new regulations.

Restaurants and cafes will not be able to sell free refills of sugary soft drinks as part of the measures to support Britons to eat and drink more healthily.

Jo Churchill, public health minister, said: “We know families want to be presented with healthier choices. This is why we are restricting promotions and introducing a range of measures to make sure the healthy choice is the easy choice.

“Creating an environment which helps everyone eat healthier foods more regularly is crucial to improving the health of the nation.”

The rules, which only medium and large stores have to follow, will see special offers on food and drinks which have high levels of salt, fat or sugar barred.

Research demonstrates placing discounts in choice places, such as supermarket checkouts or entrances, boosts consumption of promoted products by almost 20 per cent by spurring people to purchase more than they require.

Almost two-thirds of adults in England are either overweight or obese – with a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese. Illnesses linked to obesity cost the NHS £6 billion a year.

Studies show people living with obesity are more vulnerable to severe complications from coronavirus.

At the end of last month, some of the UK’s leading food companies hit out at the government over plans to see online junk food advertising banned in a bid to tackle childhood obesity.

Firms called for the government to reconsider the proposal in a letter led by the Food and Drink Federation which was signed by at least 800 food and drink manufacturers and 3,000 UK brands.

Parliament’s spending watchdog has warned the government would not meet its target to halve childhood obesity in England by 2030.

A report by the National Audit Office which came out in September found progress to hit the pledge is held back by a dearth of evidence government measures will lead to tangible change. Researchers warned the government’s approach to childhood obesity has had “limited success”.

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