Childhood Obesity Strategy: New Measures Must be Evidence Based

ACS has responded to the publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s new Childhood Obesity Strategy, calling on the Government to ensure that any new regulations are evidence based and do not unfairly target small retailers over their larger counterparts.

The new Strategy, following on from measures first announced in August 2016, aims to halve the rates of childhood obesity by 2030 and reduce the gap between the health of children in the least and most wealthy families.

Measures announced for consultation in the new Childhood Obesity Strategy include:

  • Mandating calorie labelling on products
  • Banning promotions such as multibuys on what the government considers to be unhealthy products
  • Restricting the location that certain products can be sold in within a store environment
  • Introducing a 9pm watershed on the advertising of HFSS products

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The convenience sector is keen to work with the Department of Health and Social Care on the delivery of their new strategy. We understand that convenience stores do have a role to play in increasing access to healthy foods and we will continue to engage with members about how they can increase and promote healthier ranges in store. Any new regulation must be evidence based and should not disproportionately affect small stores. We have concerns about any measure that would restrict where retailers are allowed to display products, as many of our members operate very small stores where layout changes would be difficult and costly. We will continue to engage with the Department of Health and Social Care and will be responding to their consultations on measures set out in the strategy in due course.”

The Childhood Obesity Strategy also announced plans to consult on a mandatory age restriction for the sale of energy drinks. ACS research has shown that already over half of independent retailers (53%) do not sell energy drinks to under 16s.

Mr Lowman continued: “Over half of convenience stores are currently not selling energy drinks to under-16s, and convenience stores are already at the front line of enforcing the law on other age restricted products. If the Government sees fit to introduce a regulatory age restriction on energy drinks, we will work closely with retailers to ensure that the policy is implemented across the sector appropriately.”

ACS has worked closely with the Food Foundation’s Peas Please initiative, promoting best practice in the sale of fruit and veg through the sponsorship of fresh produce awards at three major events in the convenience sector. ACS also worked with Peas Please on the production of a Veg Toolkit to help retailers sell more healthy products in stores. The retailer toolkit is available at

The full Childhood Obesity Strategy document – Childhood Obesity, A Plan for Action (Chapter 2) is available here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Mon, 25/06/2018 - 11:15