ACS is calling for an urgent review of the introduction of location and promotional restriction on high, fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products, to be introduced in October.

Following comments made by prime minister (PM) Boris Johnson at the recent parliamentary questions held on Wednesday 9 March.

When asked about the upcoming HFSS regulations and their potential impact on the food sector, the PM stated that the industry had been given ‘more time’ to consider the impact of the regulations.

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In a letter written to the PM in response to his claim, ACS chief executive James Lowman stated: “Despite an extension to the implementation, we are no clearer about the specifics of the regulations. Your officials have not issued guidance to industry or answered any queries since the regulations were passed through Parliament last year.”

The letter to the PM, outlines the burden that the regulations will have on convenience retailers, highlighting the huge uncertainty that remains about the details of the rules, which has grown as the government is yet to publish official guidance on the regulations.

Lowman stated in the letter: “At present your officials cannot indicate to industry, including thousands of small local shop owners, a clear definition of the products impacted by the regulations or the promotional mechanism that can be used to sell them.

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“The government is expecting retailers to make fundamental changes to their businesses in the dark, without clear guidance on what they can and cannot offer to customers.

“With the cost of living rising and wave after wave of food supply crisis hitting retailers over the last two years, this is not the time to introduce enormously disruptive, costly and unproven regulations,” he added.

The HFSS regulations will come into force in October, impacting a wide range of products that thousands of retailers stock, including; cereals, yoghurts, ready meals and juices.

Research carried out by ACS in August 2021 showed that 45% of independent and symbol retailers were not aware of the upcoming regulations.

Click here for the ACS' Assured Advice for retailers on the incoming HFSS the regulations

Read more HFSS news and advice for retailers