Following the announcement, in this year’s Queen’s Speech, that the Government is to bring forward measures to address obesity issues including the banning of TV adverts for ‘unhealthy’ foods before 9pm alongside a total ban online, the FDF has criticised the move.

FDF’s chief scientific officer, Kate Halliwell, said: “The advertising bans on TV and online outlined in the Queen’s Speech, confirms this Government is interested in headline chasing policy rather than making serious interventions that will help reduce obesity rates.”

The proposals outlined by ministers also include restrictions for adverts for food containing high fat, salt and sugar content from April 2022.

Halliwell continued: “A proposed advertising ban would remove less than five calories a day from children’s diets, according to the Government’s own estimates. And yet the proposals limit the scope for advertising products that have been carefully reformulated or created in smaller portions in-line with the Government’s own targets. For example, Cadbury would not be able to advertise their 30% reduced sugar Dairy Milk.

“This is tying businesses’ hands, by limiting how healthier options can be successfully brought to market. It undercuts what has been a key pillar of the Government’s obesity strategy, and demonstrates a lack of joined-up policy making.”

Skills and Post-16 Education Bill

FDF’s innovation and skills policy manager, Mark Corbett also expressed his disappointment that no further extension to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee was included in the Queen’s Speech.

He said: “There are almost 400 funded courses covered by the Lifetime Skills Guarantee but none which relate to the manufacturing of food and drink, this is despite our industry requiring a further 140,000 new recruits by 2024.

“The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector, and continues to grow at a time when many sectors are struggling. The government must look at introducing further courses that support what is a vital and resilient part of the UK economy and allows businesses to employ people with the right skills and improve their career prospects.”