Rules banning multibuy deals on foods and drinks high in fat, salt, or sugar (HFSS), including buy-one-get-one free (BOGOF), three for two and free refills for sugary soft drinks, will be delayed for a year, the UK government said on Saturday.
The plan had been unveiled in December 2020 to be enforced by April this year as part of a wider anti-obesity health drive.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the delay to restrictions on multibuy deals will allow the government to review and monitor the impact of the restrictions on the cost of living in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.
Pausing restrictions on deals like buy one get one free will allow us to understand its impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation, said UK Public Health Minister Maggie Throup.
We're committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives, she said.
The restrictions banning HFSS adverts on TV before 9 pm and paid-for adverts online will also be paused for a year, meaning they come into force January 2024.
Recognising that the industry needs more time to prepare, a consultation on TV and paid-for-adverts online will be launched in the coming weeks.
We are determined to tackle childhood obesity and are working hard to improve young people's health, including by investing 550 million pounds of government and lottery cash to level up access to sport and physical activity right across the country, said UK Media, Data and Digital Minister Julia Lopez.
We have listened to the concerns which have been raised and will not be bringing in restrictions on junk food advertising until confident that the time is right, she said.
Restrictions on the placement of less healthy products a key part of the government's commitment to reduce obesity - will still come into force in October 2022 as planned.
These will mean less healthy products are no longer promoted in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents.
DHSC said addressing obesity remains a priority for the government, and will reduce the strain put on the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) as it works to tackle the COVID backlogs.
It pointed to the laws on calorie labelling in large restaurants, cafes and takeaways coming into force last month as part of the anti-obesity drive.
The department will also be launching the Better Health: Rewards scheme in Wolverhampton later this year to test whether financial incentives can support adults to move more and eat better.
A Health Disparities White Paper is due later this year, aiming to break the link between factors such as people's social or economic circumstances and their prospect for a healthy life. This will mean looking at the biggest preventable killers, including obesity, DHSC said.
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