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IS ‘JUNK’ FOOD BEING UNFARILY JUNKED? – Are HFSS products really the ‘new tobacco?’

As our exclusive polling shows, the majority of Brits do not support tobacco-style controls on HFSS products.

Proscribed pizzas? Banned burgers? Against a background of rising UK obesity rates, the trajectory of the HFSS debate is giving the food industry food for thought.

As the Daily Mail reports, a recent BMJ Global Health study said “ultra-processed foods were the 'new tobacco' and called for stricter rules around their packaging.”

A level of rhetoric many industry figures see as hyperbolic.

Mike Coppen-Gardner, MD of SPQR Communications, talking to The Grocer, said: “How can a pasta sauce, no matter how loaded with salt, be compared to a product that apparently kills one in two of its users? Or a sugary soft drink picked up at a supermarket treated akin to the number one cause of preventable death globally?”

So, is ‘junk’ food being unfairly junked?

The BMJ don’t think so. Their website comments: “Despite strong evidence linking these products to serious health consequences, the public are in the dark about the real dangers of these 'foods.'’

The organisation supports “Tobacco-style public health campaigns.”

But what do consumers think?

Coppen-Gardner again, “As our exclusive polling shows, the majority of Brits do not support tobacco-style controls on HFSS products. From brand character bans all the way through to plain packaging, only 18% of people backed all the restrictions in our survey of 2,000 people.”

The jury’s still out, then. For now, your pizza’s safe.

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