TFL Junk food ban

MQT on 2019-03-21
Session date: 
March 21, 2019
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Do you wish you were warned of the unintended consequences of your Junk Food Ban, which is now banning everyday food items like eggs and jam?


Answer for TFL Junk food ban
TFL Junk food ban

TFL Junk food ban

Answered By: 
The Mayor

No products are banned under TfL’s advertising policy. Advertisers can put forward an exception request if they have a product that is high in fat, sugar and/or salt that can demonstrate does not contribute to child obesity.

I am committed to doing all I can to help Londoners make healthy food choices and to tackle child obesity. London has one of the highest child overweight and obesity rates in Europe, with almost 40 per cent of the capital’s children aged 10 and 11 overweight or obese. Children from more deprived areas of the capital are disproportionately affected, with young people in Barking and Dagenham almost twice as likely to be overweight as children from Richmond.

The financial and human costs associated with obesity have spiralled in recent years and continue to rise. Earlier this year, Diabetes UK revealed a significant increase in the number of children and young people across the country diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The NHS spends at least £5.1 billion a year dealing with ill health caused by overweight and obesity in England and economic analysis suggests that the wider costs to UK society are at least £27 billion each year. Given the scale of the problem it is important we do all we can to tackle this.

Introducing restrictions around the advertisement of products high in saturated fat, salt and/or sugar (HFSS) across TfL’s advertising estate is one of a range of measures in my London Food Strategy to help address London’s high rates of child obesity.  

No products are banned, but all items are assessed against the Public Health England (PHE) recommended Nutrient Profile Model. If a product is assessed as being HFSS according to the Nutrient Profiling Model, but the brand feels it does not contribute to childhood obesity, then brands can apply for an exception. We introduced this exception process to ensure the policy targeted food and drink that contributes to child obesity. TfL stands ready to help brands apply for these exceptions and they have published guidance on their website to make this easier. They have already starting to receive exception requests.

In relation to your specific examples, brands are welcome to submit an exception request for jam. TfL never said that eggs do not comply with the policy, and it is very unfortunate that this was misreported by the media.