The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed the government’s decision to delay new legislation restricting the placement and promotion of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products within shops until October 2022.
The new rules were originally due to come into force next April but, following consultation with the retail industry, the date has been put back to allow more time to make the necessary changes to store layouts.
Under the new policy, local shops and supermarkets over 2,000 sq ft and with more than 50 employees will no longer be able to place HFSS products at store entrances, checkouts, end of aisles and designated queuing areas.
However, the government says the regulations should also apply to smaller independent retailers trading under national brands such as Spar, Nisa and Costcutter.
NFRN national president Stuart Reddish said: “As part of the consultation process earlier this year, we pointed out the unfairness and inconsistency of including independent retailers who operate under a symbol banner, and called for the government to delay the changes until April 2023 at the earliest.
“The last 18 months have been hard enough, without this extra burden on retailers. At least the government has listened to some degree regarding the timing of the new legislation by delaying it for six months.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The extension to the timeframes ahead of implementation is welcome, but it’s still not a lot of time to make significant changes to stores when retailers are rightly still focusing on keeping colleagues and customers safe during a pandemic. We urge the government to look again at the implementation dates and put in place a more sensible timeline to allow retailers to prepare.”