Most respondents (51.5%) said that they agreed with the banning of junk food adverts before 9pm. Some cited the fall in the number of people who smoke, saying that the lack of TV advertising for cigarettes may have played a part in this.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the strategy would help people but “not in an excessively bossy or nannying way”. He has previously been a prominent critic of state-backed measures to reduce obesity, but has said he believes his being overweight “made a difference” to his experience suffering from Covid-19.
He added: “We want this one really to be sympathetic to people, to understand the difficulties that people face with their weight, the struggles that everybody faces or many, many people face to lose weight, and just to be helpful.”
Around 38% of people said that they didn’t think the ban would make any difference in tackling the obesity crisis.
Dory Anderson added that it wasn’t as simple as people choosing to buy food they knew was bad for them. In a comment on social media, Dory said: “It’s very hard to resist a ready meal for a quid and opt instead for 5-6 ingredients at a quid each, even if the resulting meal would extend your life by a month all on its own.”
This was echoed by Jayne Robinson, who said: “Not going to solve anything. Nobody is going to be able to afford the price of healthy stuff while it’s so much dearer than the ‘feed a family for a fiver deals of pizza, chips, garlic bread and a Viennetta’.”
Some highlighted the irony in the government stopping junk food adverts and encouraging healthier eating while also promoting their Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which will see people receive 50% off restaurant meals throughout August – reducing the cost of a McDonald’s meal to under £3.
Nearly 9% of people disagreed with the government plan to stop junk food advertising before the watershed, citing confusion over what, exactly, was classed as junk food, and the freedom for people to be able to make their own choices over what to eat.
Slightly more than 1% of respondents voted that they didn’t know.