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Highlighting implementation challenges of plans to restrict point-of-sale promotions

New plans to restrict point-of-sale promotions of less healthy foods and drinks in England aim to encourage healthier choices. With responsibility for implementation of restrictions likely to fall to food retailers, it is important to understand the challenges they face in order to ensure policy success. 

Researchers from the CDRC applied the rules in the proposal to a database containing 45,000 food and drink products, to understand how feasible the policy is to implement from a retailer perspective.  They found the data available to retailers were insufficient to apply the rules set out by the policy proposal, which would result in some products being incorrectly promoted. 

Project lead, Vicki Jenneson, discussed the policy and her findings with industry nutritionists from six UK retail and manufacturing businesses to understand how implementation challenges could be addressed.  

Based on our findings, we are currently engaging with policy makers to recommend a review of the legislative basis to establish rules which align public health benefit with data feasibility.  

The researchers are highlighting that government support is needed, in the form of a free-to-use tool for consistent automated product assessment, and development of a data-sharing platform, accessible to industry and the legislator.  

This work went on to inform a CDRC-funded LIDA Data Scientist Intern who created an interactive tool – the Nutrient Profile Model Calculator – for policy makers.