Tesco sticks with plan to axe buy one, get one free deals on junk food this year despite Government delay

Tesco is sticking with plans to axe buy one, get one free deals on ‘unhealthy’ foods. Bosses have confirmed they will press ahead with removing the promotions from the supermarket chain’s aisles despite the Government’s decision to delay a national ban for 12 months.

Ministers said they were deferring the ban on buy-one-get-one-free deals for foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) in England so they can review the impact on family budgets in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. The Department of Health and Social Care said the ban on multi-buy promotions will now come into effect in October 2023, while a bar on TV adverts for junk foods before 9pm is delayed to January 2024.

However, in a statement issued on Thursday (May 19), Tesco said it will “continue with plans to remove volume-led promotions on HFSS products from October 2022”. The retailer added: “This is in response to customer feedback that it can be hard to change shopping habits, with 86% of customers saying they want to eat more healthily, and 77% want help from supermarkets in doing so.

“While Tesco will continue to offer value on products across the entire store, this move means customers will no longer need to purchase more HFSS products than they need to access great value. The move is part of its wider commitment to support customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives and achieve the goal to boost sales of healthy products to 65% as a proportion of total sales by 2025.”

Last weekend Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives. Pausing restrictions on deals like buy one get one free will allow us to understand its impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.”

But Jason Tarry, Tesco’s UK & ROI CEO, said it was “vital that we keep making the right calls on behalf of customers and communities”. Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, said: “At Tesco, we passionately believe that healthier food should be more accessible to everyone, no matter your budget – and today’s announcement is a key step towards that.

“With more than eight in ten people reporting a rise in their cost of living, value is the number one factor that drives choice in our stores. We will always make sure our products are competitively priced.

“But we can’t stop there. Obesity levels are rising among adults and children and the health of our nation must also be at the top of our agenda.”

Tesco has launched special ‘healthy zones’ inside its stores, part of a campaign called Better Baskets. As well as “signposting customers towards making better choices”, the initiative also highlights products sold in reusable packaging.