U.K. to Ban Junk Food Ads Online, on TV Before 9 p.m.

Also, BOGO supermarket promotions will be restricted for unhealthy foods starting next April.

May 14, 2021

Sugary, Colorful Gummy Worms

LONDON—The United Kingdom has banned online junk food ads as part of an effort to curb obesity, Bloomberg reports. Commercials for unhealthy foods will also be prohibited on television before 9 p.m. In addition, restaurants and pub chains must post calorie counts on their menus.

The new government proposals from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration also include a prohibition on BOGO promotions in grocery stores for high-fat, salt and sugared foods and beverages starting in April 2022.

The restrictions are wrapped into the legislative program for the U.K. as part of the Health and Care Bill released yesterday. Last year, Johnson attributed his weight for his hospitalization after contracting COVID-19. “I had a very common underlying condition,” he said last fall. “My friends, I was too fat.”

Since then, Johnson has slimmed down, and now calls for the government to be more proactive in helping citizens do the same. The U.K. has other anti-obesity initiatives, including “Fit Miles,” which tests how rewards can push people into healthier behaviors. However, the government backed away from a proposal to have bars and pubs post calorie information on alcoholic drinks.

Back in 2018, Britain also initiated a soda tax, which was deemed a success as it got soda manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in their sodas. However, five months later, studies found that the overall tax did not change or dissuade consumers from purchasing the sugary drinks.

Meanwhile, in the United States, various sugar and soda taxes have been enacted in states such as Pennsylvania, specifically in Philadelphia, California and Washington state. Texas has also considered a soda tax.

Soda taxes change how convenience stores retail beverage. To learn more, read “A Costly Pour” in NACS Magazine.