Written Question: Fruit and Nut Bars
Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care on 24 November 2022 (92381), why products containing over 50 per cent of fruit, nuts and seeds are subject to restrictions applied to products high in fat, salt and sugar, when no assessment has been made of the levels of consumption by children of such products.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health and Social Care (Lord Markham): The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to products that are high in fat, sugar or salt found in categories of food and drink that contribute substantially to children's sugar and calorie intakes, are heavily promoted and therefore are most concern for childhood obesity. To determine if a product is in scope of the restrictions, the product must meet two criteria. First, the product must fall in one of the 13 categories listed in the regulations. The categories mostly align with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities sugar and calorie reduction and reformulation programmes. The categories chosen were informed by consumption data of everyday foods that contribute to the intakes of children up to the age of 18 years old.
Once a product is found to be in one of those 13 categories, the Nutrient Profiling Model 2004/05 and associated 2011 technical guidance provides an overall assessment of the nutritional content of products. If a food product scores four or more or a drink product scores one or more, then the product is considered less healthy and is therefore in scope of the restrictions.
Whilst no specific assessment has been made of the levels of consumption by children, sweet biscuits and bars containing over 50% of fruit, nuts and seeds, are in scope of the promotions regulations and included in the biscuit category of the sugar reduction programme as they are likely to be eaten in a similar way, and at the same type of eating occasion, as cereal bars.