NEWS12 December 2022

Junk food pre-watershed ad ban delayed

Media News UK

UK – The UK government has delayed the introduction of advertising restrictions on products that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) until 1st October 2025.

sugary doughnuts

The restrictions will include a 9pm TV watershed for HFSS products and a restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising online.

The government first announced its intention to implement the watershed for HFSS product ads in July 2020. It is the second time the introduction of the ban has been delayed.

The government is also bringing forward secondary legislation covering areas including how products are defined in the scope of the ad restrictions, and how food and drink small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined for the purposes of the SME exemptions. The consultation on the secondary legislation will run until 31st March 2023.

Ad industry organisations the Advertising Association and the IAB have responded to the delay in the planned restrictions.

Stephen Woodford, chief executive, Advertising Association, said: "While it is helpful, for planning purposes, to have a clear timeframe for the new advertising restrictions to be implemented, we continue to believe that this is the wrong policy and will do nothing to tackle obesity.

"Addressing the challenges of obesity in this country require well-funded, multi-faceted programmes focused on making changes in local communities, not population-wide and non-targeted approaches like advertising bans."

Jon Mew, chief executive, IAB UK, said: "Throughout this process, we have been clear with government that clarity and certainty are essential for our industry to effectively adhere to the HFSS online ad ban.

"The new implementation date is welcome and shows that policymakers are listening. Our members now have longer to prepare for the ban and gain much-needed clarity from the government about exactly what’s in scope and how it will work in practice."