Written Statement: Proposals to make the food environment in Wales healthier

Today, I am launching a consultation about the proposed enforcement approach for legislation to restrict promotions of food products high in fat, sugar and salt by location and price, together with a draft text of the Regulations. 

I am committed to supporting people in Wales to make the healthy choice the easy choice when food shopping and eating out. 

The consultation details the proposed legislation associated with the first phase of the action we intend to take to improve our food environment. Evidence shows that food products with poor nutritional value are currently disproportionately promoted more than healthier products. Unfortunately, these promotions are very effective in influencing what food and drink we buy. I am determined to support the industry to increase the pace and scale of action to produce and market healthier food and drink products.

The draft Regulations outline location and price promotion restrictions on less healthy products, as well as restrictions for sugary drink refills. To ensure that delivery and enforcement is made as straightforward as possible, the proposed enforcement approach is aligned with equivalent legislation in England. The Scottish Government has also set out its proposals to introduce similar measures.

Regulations are intended to be laid in the Senedd before the end of 2024 and, subject to Senedd approval, to come into force in 2025, following a 12-month implementation window for impacted businesses and enforcement bodies. This legislation represents a significant step towards our ambition for a healthier food environment; it will encourage the food industry to take steps to provide a more balanced food offer for people and communities in Wales. 

Officials will work closely with stakeholders to ensure that clear and comprehensive guidance for the food industry is in place at the time any legislation is laid.

Following the Welsh Government’s consultation in 2022 about a proposal to restrict the sale of energy drinks to under 16s, I am also taking this opportunity to undertake a call for evidence in relation to the consumption of energy drinks by children and to further understand the associated impacts of this, including those for our wider society.

I will set out my proposals to take forward other proposed measures included in our Healthy Food Environment consultation in 2022 shortly, together with a broader range of approaches to support the sector to produce and promote affordable healthy food options for everyone.

The consultation is available at: Proposals to make the food environment healthier