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    Not every Briton supports ‘tobacco-style’ restrictions under HFSS rules

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    Many Britons do not support “tobacco-style” restrictions under upcoming HFSS regulation, with a large percentage claiming it will not make a difference to them, states a new report.

    The survey of 2,000 people conducted by YouGov, commissioned by public relations company, SPQR Communications, is part of a whitepaper exploring the parallels between the tobacco restrictions in the last decade and the new restrictions on unhealthy food. 

    While 47 percent said plain packaging would have no impact on their decision to buy HFSS products, just 11 percent of respondents thought it would have a big impact. 18 percent of people back all the restrictions in the survey. 

    The survey also asked people if they would support mandatory health warnings on HFSS food. Almost half (47 percent) disagreed that HFSS products should carry “tobacco-style” mandatory health warning, whilst 35 percent believed it should.

    The upcoming legislation, set to come into force from October 1 this year, will limit brand advertising and promotions for both online and in-store sales on all products classified as high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). 

    British shoppers currently spend around 40 percent of their grocery budget on HFSS goods, and that these bans will have great financial impact on a number of brands, with estimates ranging from revenue losses of anywhere between £27 million and £1.2 billion, states the report.

    Michael Coppen-Gardner, managing director of SPQR Communications, said, “The playbook that was developed for tobacco control has been repurposed and applied to the new enemy of our times – obesity.

    “From the soft drinks levy in 2018 to the recommendations of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy in 2021, interventionism is becoming the de facto approach for tackling obesity.

    “But our research raises an important question for policymakers – namely, how effective will anti-obesity measures be if they are out of step with public opinion?

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