More than 330,000 foodservice operators and 73,000 retailers rely on FWD members for the supply of fresh, chilled and frozen food – often delivered daily, and ready to go straight on the menu or the counter.
FWD represents wholesalers in reactive action by government, for example taking the lead in representing the industry on issues such as Free School Meals, Holiday Hunger and wider health and obesity issues. FWD is on the board of the School Food Plan Alliance, which brings together organisations with an interest in school food and attend the regular meetings of the School Food All Party Parliamentary Group.
We are also actively involved in the formulation of food regulation. We work with the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs to produce guidance on the new Food Information to Consumers regulations, and bring members together to discuss how best to implement the requirements.
In addition, FWD represents members’ views on economic controls on food supply, such as the Soft Drinks Levy, to ensure that unintended consequences of intervention are taken into account, such as the growth of a grey market.
FWD recognises the role that alcohol plays in contributing to anti-social behaviour and health harms, and supports across-the-board measures that consider the supply of alcohol equally, such as minimum unit pricing.
January 14: In Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Strategy, the Government committed to consulting on restrictions to price promotions and advertising of HFSS products. It has now published its consultation, which seeks to reduce overconsumption of HFSS products that contribute to children being overweight and obese. The deadline for submissions is the 6th April 2019.
The products in scope are those which are captured under PHE’s sugar reduction programme, the soft drinks industry levy (SDIL) and PHE’s calorie reduction programme.
These products include sugar sweetened soft drinks, breakfast cereals, yoghurts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, morning goods, puddings, ice cream, sweet spreads, fruit-based drinks, milk based drinks with added sugar, ready meals, pizzas, meat products, savoury snack products, sauces and dressings, prepared sandwiches and composite salads.
The consultation seeks views on:
They propose that the 2004/5 Nutrient profiling model (NPM) should be used to define HFSS food and drink although the NPM is currently in the process of being updated, which may have implications for the future.
In the proposals, the Government offers two routes for restricting promotions in terms of price. One option is for a total ban on volume based promotions. The second option asks for ideas for a compromise solution. One example option was to require retailers to ensure that at least 80% of their sales from volume based price promotions are on healthier products.
The Government is not currently looking to restrict reference pricing (which demonstrates good value by referring to another price) which is a positive development.
Government propose that the restrictions should apply to all retail businesses which sell any food and drink products, including their franchises and online outlets. This also includes retailers that do not primarily sell food and drink, such as clothes retailers and newsagents.
December 20: Public Health England has published a report detailing progress by the food industry towards meeting the salt reduction targets set in 2014 and to be achieved by December 2017. On own label and branded products, 52% of all the average salt reduction targets set were met by 2017. Retailers made more progress than manufacturers towards achieving average targets, meeting 73% of these compared with manufacturers meeting 37%.
The Government has launched a consultation on mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector. FWD will respond on behalf of members to the consultation document here.
Summary of proposals
Any coordinated voluntary action by the 70,000 retailers served by FWD members is extremely challenging as the majority are independent retailers. The announcement by the Government that energy drinks require an mandatory age restriction is welcome for the clarity it provides to those retailers.
More than half of wholesale customers operate under a symbol group brand. While these retailers operate under a fascia, they remain independent and it is up to each individual retailer to decide their store’s procedures. Wholesalers can encourage policies in-store but do not have any power to enforce them. Unlike franchises, symbol groups are usually only based on a wholesale purchase agreement rather than formally requiring stores to follow strict operating procedures.
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy which require manufacturers and importers of soft drinks to pay a levy on high sugar products went live on April 6. The levy is made up of two rates: 18p per litre if the drink has 5g of sugar or more per 100ml and 24p per litre if the drink has 8g of sugar or more per 100ml.
Ahead of its introduction FWD has been working with Coca-Cola European Partners and the British Soft Drinks Association to highlight the potential fraud risks of the sugar tax, which includes a trade press campaign to highlight the issue to retailers and encouraging them to report any suspicious activity to HMRC.
What you can do: If you notice any drop off in sales of high sugar soft drink skus, or retailers say they’ve been offered these lines at very low prices, please let us know, or report it to the Customs Hotline