“With so many unanswered questions, the only sensible option is to delay the introduction of the rules to at least Spring 2023 to allow everyone to prepare.”
The groups query how businesses can accurately calculate the nutritional profile of their products; who is responsible for how products are promoted online; and whether retailers can promote HFSS products alongside non-food items – eg a newspaper and a drink at a set price.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers are fully committed to working constructively with government to tackle obesity and help consumers lead healthier lifestyles.
“They have led the way, reformulating own-brand products, promoting healthier options and working with local communities to highlight the benefits of eating well.
“However, with less than 12 months to go until the new regulations come into force, retailers are still waiting for clarity on the detail of the regulations and accompanying guidance.
“Without this, they cannot start to carry out the required work to bring stores and websites to compliance, which will involve making major changes to the way stores are laid out and the promotions they can offer customers.
“The government has already acknowledged that businesses need at least 12 months to prepare and moving the implementation date to Spring 2023 would give an appropriate timeframe for retailers to work towards.”