The government has been warned legislation intended to curb childhood obesity could unintentionally ban pubs from displaying crisps and nuts if hospitality is not given an exemption.
The policy is intended to stop businesses – in particular retailers – from displaying products that are high in fat, sugar and salt near tills where they can tempt children and young adults into impulse purchases.
However the government has been warned that, if the policy is not carefully crafted, the policy could also affect hospitality businesses that display food behind their bars.
Providing evidence to a consultation on the policy, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Any measures the government introduces to tackle at-till product restrictions should not extend to the hospitality sector. The government has said it wants to tackle practices that could encourage children to over-consume, and quite rightly highlights this in its proposals on promotions, but not on product placement.
“Hospitality businesses are, by and large, either adult or mixed environments. It would be unusual to see a group exclusively comprised of children in a restaurant and there are the obvious restrictions on unaccompanied children in pubs and bars.
“Any measures intended to combat at-the-till product placement aimed at children should not be allowed to spill over to hospitality. If they are, we could be presented with a ludicrous scenario whereby pubs are unable to display crisps or peanuts at the bar because they are restricted by childhood obesity legislation. Unnecessary and unintended restrictions that should not apply to hospitality businesses will only cause utterly needless problems.
“Hospitality businesses have already put in a lot of effort to reformulate menus and provide healthier options for customers, and have engaged in a number of related consultations in recent months including calorie menu labelling, allergens and reformulation targets. The government should exempt hospitality from these location measures.”