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ACS responds to speculation over future of HFSS regulations

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has responded to comments from MPs alluding to a proposed ban on special offers for HFSS (high fat, salt, sugar) products being scrapped as part of a range of measures to mitigate the ongoing cost of living crisis.

The ban, which is due to come into force in less than five months’ time, will stop thousands of retailers from providing multibuy offers and extra free deals on a range of products, including cereals, juices, yogurts, potato products and ready meals. News coverage in the FT, the Express and on Sky News today (May 10th) has reported that the plans are set to be shelved.

The ban on promotional restrictions is just one of the interventions that make up the wider Obesity Strategy, which includes restricting where HFSS products can be located in thousands of stores, including independent retailers that are part of symbol groups.

Convenience store retailers have estimated the cost of complying with these proposals, also due to come into force at the start of October, at around £13,000 per store, with supermarkets facing much higher implementation costs.

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.”