Last week we wrote about the UK government delaying restrictions on HFSS promotions in England – and said that there would be more news soon... Well, before you can say buy one get one free, here it is: following consultation, the Welsh government has announced that it will be introducing new rules to take effect from 2025.

The Welsh government says that over 60% of adults in Wales are above a healthy weight, and over a quarter of children are overweight or obese by the time they start school. This can have a significant effect on people’s health, with levels of obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes at record levels in Wales.

The new law, which will be introduced in 2024 and will be rolled out across Wales by 2025, will restrict the ways in which foods high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) can be promoted.

This will include volume-based promotions, such as multi-buys, and restrictions on where HFSS products can be displayed, such as at the end of aisles. It also plans to include within scope temporary price promotions and meal deals, which were left out of the restrictions for England.

Whilst the legislation will not apply to all HFSS products, it will target food and drinks that contribute most to obesity. The Welsh government hopes that the measures will encourage the food and retail industry to consider how healthier options can be made more available and affordable, so that no-one is priced out of a healthy diet. This could include providing more promotions on healthier food or reducing the fat, sugar and salt content of products that would currently fall under the restrictions.

The rules about which products are covered will be aligned with the English legislation, with the aim of making things easier for companies selling HFSS foods in both countries – albeit the proposed Welsh restrictions go further than those in England.

Evidence is still being considered on other proposals consulted on at the same time, including evidence in out of home settings, such as calorie labelling and on ending the sale of energy drinks to children under 16.

The Welsh government intends to consult on enforcement measures later this year.

We are still waiting for the outcome of the consultation on similar measures in Scotland.