Legislation to prohibit the sale of volume promotions in High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) categories in England has been delayed until October 2025.

The regulations, which made up the second wave of HFSS legislation, restrict the sale of volume promotions, such as 50% extra free or BOGOF, and were due to come into effect in October 2023 after being delayed from October 2022 by the government to allow it to ”review and monitor the impact of the restrictions on the cost of living in light of an unprecedented global economic situation”.

According to the Prime Minister, the promotional restrictions have been delayed until October 2025 to help alleviate the pressure of the cost of living crisis.

Commenting on the latest delay, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I firmly believe in people’s right to choose – and at a time when household budgets are under continuing pressure from the global rise in food prices, it is not fair for government to restrict the options available to consumers on their weekly shop.

”It is right that we consider carefully the impact on consumers and businesses, while ensuring we’re striking the balance with our important mission to reduce obesity and help people live healthier lives.”

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said the delay would help retailers and consumers concerned about their finances. 

”This delay to banning volume promotions on a broad range of products will be welcomed by consumers who are facing enough challenges with inflation without legislation like this further increasing shopping bills.

”It is also welcome relief for our members, already struggling with high energy prices, rising interest rates and increasing product costs from suppliers. Far more stores are subject to these regulations than the location restrictions on these products, which were introduced last year and which only apply to stores over 2,000 square feet.”

Lowman added that the extra time could result in Wales and Scotland aligning their HFSS schemes with England which he said would ”avoid confusion and unnecessary problems for customers, retailers and suppliers”.

HFSS location restrictions, which concern the placement of HFSS items, came into effect in England as planned in October 2022 however enforcement has been very light touch with few Trading Standards teams visiting stores specifically for that issue.

Failure to comply with HFSS legislation could lead to the issuing a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500 which could be increased by 50% if not paid within 56 days of a final notice.

Earlier this month, the Scottish government delayed the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme until October 2025, which is when it is planned to be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Which categories does HFSS impact?

Soft Drinks with Added Sugar, Confectionery, Cakes, Ice Cream, Crisps & Savoury Snacks, Morning Goods, Puddings & Dairy Desserts, Sweet Biscuits, Breakfast Cereals, Ready Meals, Yoghurts, Milk Drinks with Added Sugar, Juices with Added Sugar, Pizza, Chips & similar Potato Products