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CDRC researchers to conduct first-ever evaluation of HFSS legislation as part of DIO-Food Project

In October 2022, legislation came into effect in England that restricts promotion of products High Fat, Sugar or Salt (HFSS) by in-store and online location.

Beginning a year on from the legislation’s implementation, a team of CDRC researchers led by Professor Michelle Morris, will run analysis using population-level supermarket transaction data provided by three different retailers to evaluate the impacts of HFSS legislation.

This analysis run as part of the DIO Food project, will be the first-ever evaluation of this legislation and comes ahead of proposed implementation in the devolved nations, providing a unique opportunity to conduct an analysis of the impacts for retailers ahead of any new policy changes across the UK.

The sales data provided by the retailers will be for stores selected across deciles of our Priority Places for Food Index (developed in collaboration with Which? in 2022) to allow us to investigate whether the legislation has impacted different communities equally.

The researchers will analyse the impacts of the implementation from a health and sustainability perspective, using dietary (Eatwell Guide) and environmental metrics developed with IGD and their Industry Nutrition Strategy Group (INSG).

The team will also use innovative data products created by CDRC’s Dr Fran Pontin (Eatwell algorithm) and Dr Victoria Jenneson (Nutrient Profile Model Calculator) in their analysis, providing insight to retailers that cannot be found elsewhere.

Prof Michelle Morris, School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds commented: 

“In addition to the quantitative sales data work, we’ll also be doing some qualitative analysis through interviews and focus groups with different stakeholders, including policymakers, the retailers themselves and importantly members of the public.”

The qualitative work will be led by CDRC Research and Impact Manager, Dr Emily Ennis. 

We are looking forward to learning more from this interdisciplinary, cross sector team of Morris, Jenneson, Pontin, Ennis and Dr Alison Fildes from the School of Psychology at University of Leeds alongside retailers, the IGD and wider DIO Food team.

More about the DIO Food Project

This pilot will be run as part of the Diet and Health Inequalities (DIO Food) project at the University of Aberdeen – The goal of the DIO Food project is to identify how we can provide timely evidence-based research and commentary from those facing diet and health inequalities. The main focus of the project is working with vulnerable groups (early years and people with low income) to tackle the cost-of-living crisis to give timely policy directives.

DIO Food is an add on research activity to the Food Insecurity in people living with Obesity (FIO Food) which aims to provide actionable evidence for policy on retail strategies to address dietary inequalities in people living with obesity and food insecurity, to support sustainable and healthier food choices in the UK food system.