Regulations that would restrict volume promotions on High Fat Salt & Sugar (HFSS) products in stores are rumoured to be removed from the upcoming legislation.

MPs have hinted that the restriction on volume promotions could be scrapped to help consumers struggling with the rising cost of living. 

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) has been approached for comment on the rumoured changes.

In response to the speculation, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “Our members are telling us that customers are watching every penny, so now is not the time to put new legislation in place that makes feeding families more expensive. Scrapping the ban on ‘buy-one-get-one’ deals and other promotions would help retailers to deliver value for customers in stores.

“We are also urging the Government to rethink whether to continue with location restrictions. These measures are complex, unnecessary and expensive to implement, and retailers tell us that they cannot just absorb the cost as they are dealing with increased costs in every area of their businesses.”

The ACS has been working with retailers, suppliers and Trading Standards to produce comprehensive guidance for retailers on the introduction of HFSS restrictions, which is available here: https://www.acs.org.uk/advice/hfss-regulations.

The HFSS legislation is due to come into effect on 1 October, with restrictions on promotional activity and the placement of products that are affected by the regulations.

Under the regulations, stores with more than 50 employees must not offer volume promotions on HFSS products. Stores that are deemed to have a ‘franchise agreement’ will have to calculate their employee numbers based on all employees within the whole franchise business or symbol group they are part of, not just the people directly employed in stores however this has been the subject of much confusion amongst retailers.

Retailers deemed to have more than 50 employees and relevant internal floor area of over 2,000 sq. ft (185.8sqms) cannot display HFSS products within certain distances of checkouts and designated queuing areas, end-of-aisle units, and store entrances.

Due to be enforced by local authorities and Trading Standards, failure to comply with an improvement notice results in the option of issuing a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500 as an alternative to prosecution.

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