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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

The Food (Promotion and Placement) Regulations 2021

Preeti Dhuria, Dr Sarah Muir, Professor Christina Vogel

The UK food system promotes unhealthy diets and contributes to unprecedented rates of obesity partly due to increased availability, affordability, convenience and heavy marketing of unhealthy or high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods. Positional promotions, such as placing products at store entrances, aisle ends or checkouts, or price promotions, such as buy-one-get one-free offers, are commonly used to enhance sales of HFSS foods in retail settings. These marketing tactics prompt less healthy choices and contribute to obesity. There is increasing scientific evidence that creating retail layouts with increased availability and prominent positioning of healthier products improves consumer purchasing and consumption patterns.

In October 2022, the UK government implemented a law that restricts businesses with more than 50 employees and over 2,000 square feet of sales floor from placing HFSS products at checkouts, aisle ends and store entrances in retail settings and their online equivalents. From October 2025, further legislation is planned to reduce volume-based promotions on HFSS products

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