Tesco and Sainsbury’s commit to HFSS food promotions ban despite Government delay

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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British supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s will go ahead with a ban on multi-buy promotions such as ‘buy one, get one free’ on HFSS products.

The news comes nearly a week after the Government announced it will delay the implementation of HFSS rules as a response to the cost of living crisis.

Under the new plan, the multi-buy ban from Government will now be made official law from October 2023. The advertising of HFSS food ban will also be pushed back to January 2024 – a year later than the original deadline.

However Sainsbury’s and Tesco have both now committed to honouring the original timeline for the HFSS legislation, and will remove multi-buy offers by the end of October 2022.

Tesco’s decision to implement these new restrictions, despite the Government’s delay, is in response to customer feedback around eating well. Some 86% of customers said they wanted to eat more healthily, and a further 77% wanted supermarkets to help them do this.

The grocery retailer launched its Better Baskets campaign last week, to help customers buy healthier and more environmentally-friendly foods at more affordable prices.

Tesco has also said it will “continue to offer value on products across the entire store”, meaning families will no longer have to resort to HFSS goods if they are shopping on a tight budget.

The supermarket hopes healthy products will make up a 65% portion of total sales by 2025.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO said: “Our mission is to make Tesco the easiest place to shop for a healthy, more sustainable basket – while keeping the cost of the weekly shop in check.

“It’s vital that we keep making the right calls on behalf of customers and communities. Customers are telling us they want to eat a more healthy, sustainable diet, but without having to stretch the weekly shopping budget. We agree and, thanks to our laser-focus on great value, customers won’t need to make that compromise at Tesco.”

Alessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer, said: “With more than eight in 10 people reporting a rise in their cost of living, value is the number one factor that drives choice in our stores. We will always make sure our products are competitively priced.

“But we can’t stop there. Obesity levels are rising among adults and children and the health of our nation must also be at the top of our agenda.”

Sainsbury’s, which has been cutting out multi-buy offers on soft drinks, confectionary, biscuits and crisps since 2016, has also committed to helping customers access healthier products in its stores, and is urging other retailers stick to the original deadline later this autumn.

Mark Given, Chief Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s, said in a statement: “We know our customers in communities across the country are a facing a cost-of-living crisis and want to continue to provide healthy, nutritious food for their families.

“Sainsbury’s is dedicated to making healthy choices more affordable and over the last year nearly 60% of our promotions were on healthier or ‘better for you’ choices.

“We are committed to continuing to follow the Government’s original HFSS promotional timelines and call on the rest of the industry to do the same.”

Legislation which will move HFSS products away from prime locations in stores will still come into effect in October 2022, in a bid to stop impulse spending on unhealthy foods.

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