UK to ban two-for-one biscuit offers at supermarkets

supermarket biscuit cookie aisle
Bargains on biscuits and other sweet treats could soon be a thing of the past in England. Source: Getty

Public Health England has announced drastic plans to help people across the United Kingdom lose weight.

Outlined in a recently-released report, supermarkets and fast food outlets will have to follow strict guidelines to meet the British government’s plan to reduce 20 per cent of calories in popular foods by 2024.

The government is particularly keen to target snacks and treats that cause people to gain weight. Prime minister Theresa May is also planning on banning stores from enticing customers with two-for-one offers on an array of sugary foods including biscuits, cakes and other sweets, The Sun reports. 

If that wasn’t enough, there are also plans for junk food advertisements to be completely banned from TV during some of the country’s biggest family shows. At present, guidelines have already banned fast food ads and commercials for junk food from children shows.

The drastic measures are all about improving the health of Brits and reliving pressure on the NHS. It’s hoped limiting access to unhealthy foods and reducing exposure to junk food ads, will reduce rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers, all of which are linked to obesity.

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While health professionals have praised the move, others are concerned the British government is stepping into nanny state territory.

One person took to Twitter and wrote: “Dear Public Health England, Counting calories leads to poor food choices & hunger & tiredness & eating disorders. Maybe you could stop working with the fake food industry for five mins & tell people to eat better, not less?”

Another asked: “Public Health England is ordering food manufacturers to cut portion sizes and change recipes to reduce obesity. But why should the 74% of us who are *not* obese have our food degraded?”, while a third sarcastically added: “I love the smell of tofu in the morning”.

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It’s not the only measure the UK government has taken to tackle Britain’s growing obesity epidemic. At the start of the year, they launched the ‘OneYou’ campaign, encouraging the country to go on a diet.

At present, 62 per cent of adults in the UK are considered obese, while 63.4 per cent of Aussie adults fall into the same category. In the USA, 75 per cent of the population is expected to be overweight by 2020. That campaign encouraged Brits to consume even less calories during mealtimes, restricting 400 calories for breakfast and 600 calories for lunch and dinner.

Health experts have tried to implement similar rules in Australia, but to no prevail. The Australian Beverages Council recently rejected a call for a sugar tax on sugary soft drinks, while others have suggested campaigns similar to those used to discourage smoking should be implemented instead. 

Is this actually looking out for the health of the public, or is it the government trying to control everything? Do you think something similar should be rolled out in Australia?