Foodservice Footprint 10-Downing-St-300x200 Election 2017: obesity policy summary for major parties Foodservice News and Information

Election 2017: obesity policy summary for major parties

Obesity mentions have been thin on the ground in the run-up to today’s general election (apart from the fuss over free school meals of course). So, here’s a quick rundown of who has committed to what in their manifestos (neither the Greens nor UKIP mentioned obesity in their policy plans).


Party: Conservatives

What they’ve said: They’re sticking with their much-maligned (though not necessarily by foodservice) childhood obesity plan. And, that’s about it. There’s a vague commitment to “promote efforts to reduce unhealthy ingredients” and another hint that Theresa May is keen to play with food labelling post Brexit: “Our decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility over the presentation of information on packaged food.”

Did you know? The Conservatives don’t mention the sugar tax on drinks in their manifesto, despite it being their policy.

Party: Labour

What they’ve said: Labour would publish a new childhood obesity plan “within the first 100 days”, which would include “proposals on advertising and food labelling”. There’s little detail further detail on this, but the party has said it’s keen on a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising. It will also keep the sugar tax on soft drinks.

Did you know? Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth happily takes his children to McDonald’s “once in a while” but the party’s recently resurgent leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is “totally anti-sugar” (though this doesn’t extend to biscuits and jam, it appears).

Party: Liberal Democrats

What they’ve said: Perhaps the most detailed of the four manifestos assessed. Like Labour, the Lib Dems want their own childhood obesity strategy which, like Labour, would include a watershed on advertising of unhealthy food and drink. Sugar reduction targets should also be mandatory, whilst firms would be “encouraged” to use the traffic-light labelling system and put calorie, fat, sugar and salt contents on menus.

Did you know? The Lib Dems would like to “close the loopholes” in the sugary drinks tax.

Party: SNP

What they’ve said: Similar to Labour and the Lib Dems really: the UK’s plan on obesity “falls short”, the sugar tax has some flaws, whilst laws on marketing and labelling need to be tightened. The SNP is expected to publish its obesity strategy for Scotland later this year; and Food Standards Scotland appears to want the government to take a more heavy-handed approach with industry, especially foodservice.

Did you know? Food and drink manufacturers in Scotland have been given 12 months to come up with effective voluntary approaches to reduce rising levels of obesity, or face regulation.