Food and Drink Advertising - Briefing - 2023

This briefing covers the latest policy and evidence on advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) in Scotland and the UK. It outlines why regulation of HFSS products is needed, what efforts have already been made to reduce their impact, and where gaps still exist.

Key insights:

  • UK food advertising spend is significantly skewed towards HFSS products (32%) compared to healthier options such as fruit and vegetables (1%).


  • There is overwhelming evidence that HFSS advertising powerfully influences food preference and consumption of children, negatively impacting their health and weight outcomes.


  • The UK Health and Care Act (2022) introduced new, stronger restrictions on TV and online HFSS food and drink advertising. The original implementation date for the restrictions was January 2023; however, this has now been pushed back to October 2025.


  • Policy and legislation should be developed in line with the principle of restricting all forms of HFSS food and drink advertising. This would require action on devolved and reserved matters (explained within the briefing).