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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Supporting effective implementation and enforcement of the UK government Food (Promotions and Placements) legislation


In response to the persistent levels of obesity and the role unhealthy body weight can have in exacerbating the severity of response to COVID-19 infection[1], the UK government will introduce the Food (Promotions and Placement) legislation in 2022 to restrict multibuy promotions and prominent positioning of HFSS products (both in-store and online).[2]

This legislation is world-leading, thus understanding more about the benefits, concerns and support needs of key stakeholders involved in implementing and enforcing the legislation and those affected by it, is needed and is timely. We have conducted some pilot work and established partnerships with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and Chartered Institute of Trading Standards (CTSI). Additionally, Yaryna Basystyuk, PPS, has facilitated the establishment of links with the DHSC Public Health Improvement and Cross‐Cutting teams who are directly responsible for national oversight of the new legislation.


Expanding our pilot work will enable a wide range of views to be heard and proposed solutions to be identified to help minimize possible detrimental outcomes from the new legislation. Results will be used to produce the following outputs:
1) a policy brief produced by end of March 2022 to provide timely feedback to policymakers and key organisations to support their preparations for implementing the legislation in October 2022
2) a virtual half-day conference in March 2022 with retail, local authority and policy-maker stakeholders.

Timeline of project
Jan-Feb 2022- We will conduct interviews via MS Teams with a range of different retailers (n~15) and local authority enforcement officers across England (n~15). The exact number of participants recruited will be guided by the achievement of saturation of views[3], when no new opinions are heard. Participant recruitment will be supported by our partner organisations at CGF and CTSI. The retailers’ and enforcers’ interviews will follow separate semi-structured interview guides to enable pre-identified and new issues to be explored through discussion.

March 2022- We will host a free, one‐day virtual conference for stakeholders (n~150) from DHSC, local authorities, UK Parliament, manufacturers, environmental health and trading standards teams, supermarkets and convenience stores. We will invite representatives from DHSC, industry and trading standards to present as part of the programme, alongside our team members. The exact structure of the conference will be co-designed with our partners, who will promote the event through their networks. A short evaluation will be undertaken with conference delegates to assess the impact of the event on confidence and intended plans for implementation/enforcement.

1. Public Health England, Excess Weight and COVID-19 Insights from new evidence. 2020b.
2. Department of Health and Social Care, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives. 2020.
3. Vasileiou, K., et al., Characterising and justifying sample size sufficiency in interview-based studies: systematic analysis of qualitative health research over a 15-year period. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 2018. 18(1): p. 148.


Project Lead

Preeti Dhurai

Preeti Dhurai

Preeti is a registered public health nutritionist. She completed her Masters in food and nutrition from Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, India.

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