Deals on meals: Wales will restrict unhealthy options

supermarket food for sale

According to plans to combat obesity and diabetes, Wales will restrict the consumption of meals with a high fat, sugar, or salt content.

The Welsh government's suggestions will outlaw price reductions and multi-buy promotions on unhealthy foods.

Retailers have expressed concern over the high food prices, which, according to an eating disorder charity, may harm those who are recovering.

By 2025, the law will have been implemented after being introduced next year.

Many merchants provide lunch specials that include a sandwich, beverage, and snack for a predetermined cost.

Certain combinations that contain a lot of fat, sugar, or salt in excess of the daily recommended amount will be restricted.

Bethan Walker
It's up to me, says Bethan Walker, if I choose to purchase something with more sugar or salt.

The new law will also forbid retailers from momentary price reductions and special offers like two-for-one on the unhealthiest foods.

The new regulations will also ask retailers not to advertise specific items at the end of aisles or next to checkouts in an effort to reduce impulse purchases of junk food.

All companies that have more than 50 employees must abide by the law.

Because of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's argument that it would be unfair to limit options while food prices are still high, similar changes in England have been postponed by the UK government.

Scotland "paused" a new bill to restrict the promotion of junk food in June 2020 because of the Covid pandemic.

Customers at a supermarket in the Vale of Glamorgan expressed a variety of opinions about the legislation.

June Milne said, "I think it's a great idea. "I believe there should be limitations put in place by the government. It's time to prioritize health over profit. ".

Mohamed Gomaa
Mohamed Gomaa is in favor of food packaging health warnings.

Similar to the health warnings on cigarette packets, Mohamed Gomaa thought it would be more effective to place health warnings on food packaging.

"I understand what's going on, but personally, my view is that if I want to buy something with more sugar or salt in it, then it's my choice," Bethan Walker said. ".

Matthew Hunt, director of Filco Supermarkets, called the timing "ludicrous.".

It is noteworthy that Rishi Sunak has recently discussed loosening this legislation; he claims that doing so would cause inflation and that the time is not right for such a move, particularly given the current level of food inflation.

"At all costs, it should be prevented that different governments do not agree on what is included and what is excluded, leading to confusion.

June Milne
June Milne claims that it is time for us to prioritize health over profit.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Drive on Tuesday, Claire Reynolds from the charity Beat that supports people with eating disorders said: "There's a huge risk by putting these sorts of restrictions and red flags it can be a real sort of detriment for someone who is trying to recover from an eating disorder.

"They might be following a prescribed diet that calls for them to consume a specific set of foods, only to be informed later on that this is incorrect and they shouldn't. ".

The Welsh government claimed that there was broad public support for taking action to encourage people to choose healthier foods.

Data from Public Health Wales show that one in four Welsh children are obese by the time they are five years old, and 60% of the population is overweight.

Meal deals graphic

In Wales, there are also a record number of people who have type 2 diabetes.

"This legislation will advance our commitment to improve diets and aid in the prevention of obesity in Wales," said Lynne Neagle, deputy minister for mental health and wellbeing.

"Our goal is to rebalance our food environments in favor of healthier products so that making a healthy choice is simple. ".

The Welsh government stated that while it would not be banning any products, it would keep working with retailers to ensure that all of the offers made to customers were balanced nutritionally.

Filco supermarkets director Matthew Hunt
Matthew Hunt, the director of Filco Supermarkets, is worried about "the spread of confusion.".

For Public Health Wales (PHW), Dr. Ilona Johnson, a consultant in public health, stated: "We know from the evidence that policies targeting the food environment are effective and a strong legislative framework is an important step in helping us to shift the balance towards healthier choices and healthier people. ".

We are especially concerned about potential plans to limit price promotions and products in meal deals, according to the Welsh Retail Consortium.

"Promotions within categories enable merchants and brands to compete for customers, enhancing competition and preserving affordable prices. ".

James Evans, the Welsh Conservatives' spokesman for mental health, said that it is unfortunate that it has taken the Welsh government this long to address the issue of obesity, which is a costly drain on the meager resources of our valuable Welsh NHS.

"However, in light of the pressures on our standard of living brought on by rising prices, we need unequivocal guarantees from the Welsh Labour government that meal deals won't be outlawed and that any new regulations won't raise consumers' average weekly expenditure. ".

The Welsh party Plaid Cymru declared that it "supports measures that focus on making it easier to choose healthy lifestyle options.".

When too many households are already experiencing unreasonably tight financial constraints, it's crucial to strike a balance between taking actions that could prevent poor future health and those that involve the government limiting our freedom.

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