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.
The Government has published Chapter 2 of the Obesity Strategy. As anticipated, the Strategy has a strong focus on energy drinks and it includes the commitment to consult before the end of 2018 on introducing legislation ending the sale of energy drinks to children.
The Strategy mentions the strong results the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has produced and the Government will seeking to expand this to sugary milk drinks.
Furthermore, it says the Government will look at whether the self-regulatory basis of online advertising rules continues to be the right approach for protecting children from the advertising of unhealthy food and drinks. The Government will also consult on introducing a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online.
The House of Commons Science and Technology committee has launched an inquiry into energy drinks to which FWD has responded. The consultation looks at their popularity with young people, amid concerns about negative health outcomes due to their high caffeine and sugar content. The inquiry looks at what controls, regulation or awareness-raising are in place and explores potential further measures.
In our response we highlighted that wholesalers of energy drinks are clear to their customers about the suitability of energy drinks and clearly label high caffeine soft drinks as not recommended for children. Any coordinated voluntary action by the convenience retailers served by FWD members is extremely challenging as the majority are independent retailers and it is up to each individual retailer to decide their store’s procedures.
We also gave evidence to The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons’ inquiry in to energy drinks and their effects on children and young people’s health.
The Government’s Obesity Strategy includes the commitment to consult before the end of 2018 on introducing legislation ending the sale of energy drinks to children.
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