Knowledge for better food systems

Food Policy on Trial: Plain packaging on junk food and drink

This report from the UK Food Ethics Council details the verdict reached by the “jury” in the event “Food Policy on Trial: In the dock – plain packaging on junk food & drink”. The jury (consisting of four volunteer members of the Food Ethics Council) concluded that much stronger regulation is required on food and drink packaging, for example banning the use of cartoon figures to market unhealthy foods to children, but also thought that introducing plain packaging on certain foods and drinks should be kept as a potential future intervention rather than introduced immediately.

Other points from the jury’s verdict include:

  • A citizen’s assembly could help to decide which claims about food and drink should be allowed on packaging
  • Policies on packaging should not be implemented alone, but rather in conjunction with system-wide measures to improve the health and sustainability of the food system
  • Honesty and clarity should be the principles underlying the regulation of food and drink packaging and advertising

65% of the audience at the event thought that the idea of introducing plain packaging to certain food and drink products as an isolated policy was either flawed or harmful; when proposed as part of a suite of wider food policy measures, only 30% thought plain food and drink packaging was flawed or harmful.

Read more here or download the final report, Food Policy On Trial: Second in the dock – plain packaging on the worst impact food & drink - Jury’s verdict, here (PDF link). See also the Foodsource resource What are the influences on our food choices?

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