Buy One Get One Free Ban

The Lempert Report
July 11, 2023

On today’s Bullseye, the UK has made a bold move, and not one I agree with. A ban was about to take place on Buy One Get One Free promotions on those foods and beverages that are high in sugar salt and fat – commonly known as HFSS – its been pushed out to October 2025 as Prime Minister Sunak is stressing the fact that because of rising food prices, it’s not the time to eliminate these promotions. He sites that its about consumer choice during the UK’s cost of living crisis. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics – their BLS if you will, food inflation in April 2023 was 19.1%. No question that is unbearable for most UK families. But the UK or the US for that matter, can’t ignore the fact that putting these heavy promotions on foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat does no one any good. Hattie Burt, Senior Policy and International Projects Officer at campaign group Action on Salt, told FoodNavigator. “The government’s own data shows that multi-buy promotions on unhealthy food cause people to spend 20% more than they intended. This marketing technique is applied to higher sugar products more than any other foods, resulting in consumers buying 6% more sugar than they otherwise would have done. If multi-buys on products high in sugar, salt and saturated fat were stopped, people would have money freed up to buy healthier products. Furthermore, such restrictions would force food and drink companies to place such offers and marketing tactics on healthier products, helping the population eat better.”

I have an idea. What if the government put thru this ban right away – but then supported By One Get One Free on products that met a healthier criteria. Wouldn’t that solve two problems simultaneously? Help people’s budgets and give them – and maybe even introduce them – to healthier offerings. Everyone is quick to cite the statistics that show how eating healthier would save billions and trillions of dollars in healthcare costs. Let’s take those dollars and compensate retailers and brands to offer these steep discounts on the foods we should be eating.