Confectionery price promotions - bag 'em or bin 'em?

Action on Sugar is calling for a complete ban on confectionery price promotions, saying sharing bags may contain up to FOUR times the recommended maximum daily adult intake of sugar.

Sharing-size bags of confectionery may contain the equivalent of a whopping 29 teaspoons of sugar, according to Action on Sugar. And price promotions on these bags are increasingly encouraging consumers to 'go large', with over a third of 16-24 year olds admitting they often eat a whole sharing bag themselves in one go.

The organisation surveyed promotional activity covering 95 different products between December 2017 and January 2018. Sharing bags of chocolate from Brookside, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, M&Ms, Asda and Morrisons were amongst the most sugar-laden, all containing between 20 and 29 teaspoons equivalent of sugar. Mars' Maltesers, Cadbury Picnic bites and Montezuma dark chocolate buttons at the other end of the scale of those researched still contain 9-11 teaspoons' worth. 

The organisation is now calling for a complete ban on all price promotions on confectionery, arguing that these discounts are manipulating people into choosing larger sizes, thus fuelling the ongoing obesity crisis.

Confectionery is the second biggest contributor to dietary sugar intakes, after soft drinks. A Public Health England study by Kantar Worldpanel in 2015 suggested that if price promotions on higher sugar items were reduced to zero, this would result in reduced purchases equivalent to 7.4g of sugar per individual per day. With the introduction of the new Sugary Drinks Industry Levy due to come into force on 6 April 2018, the Treasury now claims that 50% of drinks that would have been eligible to be taxed have now been reformulated or sizes reduced to come under the thresholds. Now Action on Sugar, as well as calling for a ban on price promotions, is arguing for confectionery also to be subjected to an additional 'sugar tax of at least 20%'.

For more information about this story, see Action on Sugar website

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Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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