Food and Drink

Junk food ads to be banned on TV before 9pm

The government’s new rules will come into effect by the end of next year and will affect establishments with 250 or more employees

Fast food businesses in the UK are set to be banned from advertising junk food before the watershed on television.

The government’s new rules will come into effect by the end of 2022 and will affect establishments with 250 or more employees that either produce or sell foods with which are high in sugars, salt and fat.

Adverts for these products will only be allowed to be shown on television and during on-demand programming from 9pm until 5.30am.

However, online advertising will continue to be permitted for pubs and restaurants which serve fast food products.

Jo Churchill, the government’s public health minister, said: “We are committed to improving the health of our children and tackling obesity.

“This action on advertising will help to wipe billions off the national calorie count and give our children a fair chance of a healthy lifestyle.”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality’s chief executive, said: “It’s positive that the government has heeded many of the sector’s concerns, such as exempting smaller businesses and limiting the scope to paid-for advertising.

“Such concessions are appreciated at a time when hospitality is trying to get back on its feet following the huge impacts of the pandemic.”

She added: “There is still plenty in today’s announcement that will impose considerable constraints, though, with little discernible evidence of them making a positive difference on obesity.

“Furthermore, there appears to be little flexibility for future redress of these measures, should they prove to be ineffective.”

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