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    MPs call on to ban cook-at-home meal deals

    A cross-party panel of MPs has called for ban of cook-at-home meal deals such as pizzas and convenience foodsto help tackle obesity as part of a planned broader crackdown on junk food promotions.

    The recommendation calls into question the future of highly-popular ready-meal options, that are offered at a wide range of supermarkets, which include a main meal and a side or dessert option. The products in question here include Marks & Spencer’s ‘Dine-in’ range and Tesco’s Finest-branded ‘Dinner for two’ promotion.

    “We are not convinced that the delay to banning certain volume price promotions for HFSS food will save consumers money, given the Government’s own analysis on this matter,” the MPs, in a report released today (28), said. “Of less doubt is that it will make the fight against unhealthy eating and obesity even harder…

    “The regulations restricting discounts on HFSS food should be broadened to exclude all price promotions of HFSS food, to ban meal deals where any element of a meal deal has to be cooked prior to eating, and to extend the regulations’ coverage to all food shops,” The Telegraph quoted from the report.

    The committee also challenged all food shops to “stop all promotions of HFSS food” including “single purchase discounts offered to their loyalty scheme holders, and also cook-at-home meal deals such as for pizzas and convenience foods”.

    Countering the calls by the MPs, However, Tory MP Greg Smith said that the last thing people need is “nannying politicians telling them what they can and can’t buy in the shops”.

    “What people eat is a matter for them and no business of government, not least at a time when buy one get one free deals help with the cost of living and food inflation,” Smith said.

    Under the current proposals, small food shops with fewer than 50 employees would be exempt from junk food price promotion rules. Rules banning multibuy deals on foods and drinks that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), including ‘buy one, get one free’ deals, were originally supposed to come into force in April 2022. Restrictions have been imposed on the location of unhealthy foods in bigger shops, to ensure they are not placed near checkouts or queuing areas.

    Calorie labelling on menus was introduced last year in a bid to help consumers make healthier choices when eating out.

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