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Women Consumers’ Views on Legislation to Restrict Prominent Placement and Multibuy Promotions of High Fat, Sugar, and Salt Products in England: A Qualitative Perspective

Dhuria, P., Muir, S., Lawrence, W. , Roe, E., Crozier, S., Cooper, C., Baird, J. & Vogel, C. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3897-3786 (2023). Women Consumers’ Views on Legislation to Restrict Prominent Placement and Multibuy Promotions of High Fat, Sugar, and Salt Products in England: A Qualitative Perspective. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 12(1), article number 7597. doi: 10.34172/ijhpm.2023.7597


As part of the childhood obesity strategy, the UK Government has introduced regulations to restrict the ways high fat salt and sugar (HFSS) products can be promoted in retail settings from October 2022. This study explored (i) consumers’ views on the likely impact of the UK legislation restricting the placement and promotion of HFSS products on their shopping behaviours and (ii) consumers’ beliefs about who is responsible for healthy eating.

Using a cross-sectional study design, qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of women who shopped at a discount supermarket. Thematic analysis was employed to identify key themes.

Participants’ (n = 34) had a median age of 35 years and over half were in paid employment. Five themes were identified: (1) The legislation is acceptable, but people can still (and should be able to) buy HFSS items; (2) The legislation is likely to have more impact on shoppers who do not plan their shopping; (3) Affordability of healthy food is just as, or more, important than the legislation; (4) It’s up to the individual to eat healthily; and (5) Government and retailers can better support consumers to make healthy choices.

Most participants were optimistic about the incoming regulations and believed that it would support consumers to make healthier food choices. Many raised concerns, however, that the high price of healthy foods and continued availability of unhealthy foods within the stores could undermine the legislation’s benefits. Coupling the legislation with interventions to promote and reduce the costs of healthier products would go some way to ensure its success. Raising awareness about marketing strategies that play into consumer concerns for cost and autonomy could further increase acceptance of the policy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is published under a CC-BY 4.0 licence:
Publisher Keywords: Supermarket Environment, Obesity, UK Food Policy, HFSS Regulations, Food Shopping Behaviours
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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