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Restaurants to be banned from offering free refills of sugary drinks

29 December 2020 by
Restaurants to be banned from offering free refills of sugary drinks

Restaurants will be banned from offering free refills of sugary drinks from April 2022 under government plans to tackle obesity.

‘Buy one get one free' and ‘three for two' offers on unhealthy food will also be prohibited in supermarkets.

Foods high in fat, sugar and salt, such as pre-packed pastries, cakes and chocolate, will no longer be able to be sold in prominent locations, such as by checkouts and store entrances.

The government announced plans to develop anti-obesity measures in July after evidence suggested those who are overweight are at increased risk from coronavirus.

Under laws being drawn up displaying calories on menus will be mandatory for restaurant, café and takeaway businesses with more than 250 employees. UKHospitality warned the move could cost some businesses up to £40,000 per menu run.

Public health minister Jo Churchill said: "We know families want to be presented with healthier choices. This is why we are restricting promotions and introducing a range of measures to make sure the healthy choice is the easy choice."

But Tim Rycroft, chief operating officer at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said it was ‘breath-taking and insulting' that the plans were revealed during the Christmas holidays and ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

He said: "[Food and drink companies] will have no bandwidth to devote to this flawed policy until the difficult first weeks of Brexit, post-transition, are out of the way."

He added that the plans would have a "devastating" impact on retailers and discourage manufacturers from reformulating healthier versions of their products.

The government has launched an eight-week online consultation into the plans and is seeking views on how best to enforce the measures.

Photo: Shutterstock

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