Food and Agri Weekly Update Friday 16 Dec. 2022

FSA Consumer Insights tracker

New data in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Consumer Insights Tracker shows people are concerned about the price of food this Christmas and New Year. Latest FSA consumer survey tracks level of concern around the price of food at Christmas and New Year | Food Standards Agency

The latest data from November 2022 shows: 

  • Seven in ten (69%) consumers reported taking at least one action to save money on food for Christmas 2022, including buying ‘yellow-sticker’ food items close to their use-by date (25%); buying less fresh food and more long-life foods instead (17%); buying less food than usual for Christmas (23%); and changing to cheaper brands (33%) 
  • Concerns about food shopping for Christmas and New Year have significantly increased (compared with the same period last year 12-16 November 2021): 

- 81% reported concern about food prices (was 62% in November 2021) 

- 55% reported concern about food availability (was 48% in November 2021) 

- 50% reported concern about the quality of food (was 37% in November 2021) 

- 41% reported concern about the safety of food (was 31% in November 2021) 

  • Specifically, in relation to Christmas and New Year, around half of consumers reported concerns about sustainability and the impact of food production on the environment (49%, November 2022) and the healthiness of food (47%, November 2022) 

Grocery Code Adjudicator Newsletter December

The GCA’s 7 Golden Rules to Cost Price Increase (CPI) requests were again emphasised as the most common concern of suppliers.

The 7 golden rules GCA Mark White sets out for retailers dealing CPI requests are as follows:

  1. Clear communication from the outset by retailers about the process and how long it will take;
  2. Awareness, and prioritisation, of the possible greater impact on smaller suppliers;
  3. Support for buyers from colleagues who have experience of dealing with CPI requests;
  4. Only asking for the specific information from suppliers that is needed to make a CPI decision;
  5. Clear communication of the outcome, so there can be no grey areas;
  6. No automatic delists or fixed delist notice periods following CPI negotiations;
  7. Reminding buyers about abiding by competition law e.g. never asking suppliers about other retailers’ plans or retail prices.

Concerns have been raised by suppliers in relation to excessive requests for information, a lack of communication around predicted timelines, inexperienced buyers who are not being supported (and therefore delaying negotiations) and delayed implementation of agreed price rises.

The 2023 GCA survey is scheduled to launch on 16 January and will be open for 6 weeks. This is one of most important ways for suppliers to confidentially tell the GCA about their experiences with the Retailers.  GCA Newsletter - December 2022 Edition.pdf

Deposit Return Scheme DRS for Scotland - pricing reduction but Gateway Report is still damning

In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced in the Programme for Government that it would move to implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for Scotland for single-use drinks containers. The DRS is currently scheduled for 'go-live' on the 16 Aug 2023.  

The Scottish government announced last month that DRS would be significantly scaled back to allow tens of thousands of smaller retailers the option of opting out of the scheme, which is expected to hugely reduce the number of return points.

Circularity Scotland ,CSL, the scheme administrator, additionally published this week that the costs to some producers would be cut by as much as 40%, with the charges for every type of metric in the scheme being “very significantly” reduced.  It has also dramatically cut the upfront fee it was asking producers to pay to cover the potential cost of unredeemed deposits.

Circularity Scotland has faced criticism from producers and retailers alike over the cost of the rollout, has indicated this would significantly cut the projected cost of DRS and therefore the costs that would have to be borne by drinks producers

A Gateway Review report, commissioned by the government, that was published this week has however criticised the proposed timetable and strategy: 5.0 Background - Deposit return scheme - gateway review: final report - ( 

The Review team have stated it is not possible to have a DRS in Scotland within the current timescale.  The Gateway Review said it “urgently” needed to tackle problems with the over-ambitious scope of the scheme and also issues over its management. It claimed that the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, was “not yet able to make meaningful decisions” as the scheme was struggling in the transition between government ownership to a system run by the industry.

ASA Rulings

Shop TJC Ltd  Upheld  Television  14 December 2022 Shop TJC Ltd - ASA | CAP

A teleshopping presentation made unauthorised health claims as well as prohibited claims that two Lashile Beauty food supplements could prevent, treat or cure human disease.

i) Health claim:

The CAP Code required that only health claims authorised on the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register (the GB Register) were permitted in marketing communications for foods. The CAP Code defined health claims as those that stated, suggested or implied a relationship between a food, drink or ingredient and health.

The ASA considered the claims: “Good Slim”; “Good Diet”; “fight stubborn areas of fat”, “lose weight”; “control appetite”; “appetite suppressant”; “fight water loss”; “L-carnitine fat burner, increases endurance, helps with energy”; “Chromium … balances your sugar levels, your carbs, your lipids”; “Chromium … is your anti-sugar, micronutrient … it metabolises your carbs and your lipids as well”; “the carrow … it’s basically a slimming fibre … it gels to the stomach, leaving you feeling fuller for longer”; “L-tyrosine … to facilitate slimming, it’s going to increase your metabolism”; and “It’s got a real … serotonin boost in this, it absolutely picks up your mood” to be specific health claims for the purposes of the Code.

However, there had been no evidence which demonstrated that those claims were authorised on the GB Register

ii) Prevent, treat or cure human disease

The CAP Code prohibited claims that stated or implied a food could prevent, treat or cure human disease.

The ASA considered consumers would understand the claims “I suffer from hypoglycaemia, so if I don’t get my sugar levels right, I use this as a preventative”, “prevents the onset of Type II Diabetes” and “relieve anxiety” to mean the advertised supplements could prevent hypoglycaemia and the onset of Type II Diabetes, and treat anxiety.

The ASA considered that the ad made claims that a food supplement could prevent, treat or cure disease and concluded that it therefore breached the Code.

iii) Reduction of disease risk

The CAP Code stated that reduction of disease risk claims were acceptable if authorised on the GB Register.

The ASA considered that the claims “Do you know someone who is struggling with high levels of cholesterol? You want to give them one to try”, “It improves your overall cholesterol” and “It improves the onset of Type II Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease” were likely to be interpreted as reduction of disease risk claims. However, those claims did not appear on the GB Register and therefore breached the Code.

Alcohol – irresponsible behaviour

DrunkH Ltd  Upheld  Social media (paid ad), Internet (website content)  14 December 2022 DrunkH Ltd - ASA | CAP

A paid-for ad on Instagram and a website that promoted a drinking card game encouraged irresponsible or anti-social behaviour, portrayed drinking alcohol as a challenge ie ‘not for snowflakes’ and was inappropriately targeted at people under 18 years of age.

Gender stereotypes

Rated People Ltd t/a  Upheld  Poster  14 December 2022 Rated People Ltd - ASA | CAP

A poster for a tradesperson directory included a gender stereotype that was likely to cause harm and serious offence.

Rated People Ltd said the ad was one of several ads that were part of a campaign to encourage diversity into the trades profession.  The poster featured text stating, “Building Work. It’s a man’s game. Bit like football was”. Alongside was an image of a hand holding a drill. Beneath that, smaller text stated, “If you’ve got the skills, we’ve got the jobs”.

The ASA accepted the ad was  intended to imply that, in football, women had successfully challenged a similar stereotype, as exemplified by the success of the recent Women’s European Championship – and that the stereotype around building work was being challenged in a similar way. However, the ASA considered that the claims in the ad were ambiguous, and that other consumers were likely to interpret the ad as presenting changing attitudes to football in a negative light, mourning the fact that football might no longer be considered a “man’s game”, and presenting building work as one area where women were still excluded, and should continue to be. The ASA considered that the ad reinforced harmful gender stereotypes that both football and the trade industry should be for men only.

This seems to be a particularly harsh decision but underlines that the presentation of gender stereotypical views, even if those views are intended to be challenged by the ad, need to be carefully assessed.

Olive Oil price hikes and shortages

Poor harvests in Spain and Italy mean likely limited stocks and price increases of olive oil. Food business operators that use olive oil will need to consider recipe updates, reformulations and contract prices in light of potential shortages as well as ensure their testing and quality control/food fraud measures are tightened.

The price of Italian extra virgin olive oil has already risen by 40.7% since 1 June to just over €6,000/kg, shows November data from Milan’s Granaria agricultural trading exchange. European extra virgin is up 44.9% over the same period to €5,500/kg and refined olive oil is up 48.3% to €5,400/kg.

Increase in seasonal worker visas for horticulture industry

Defra have stated that there will be 45,000 visas for seasonal workers to be available for horticulture businesses next year.  The changes are stated to provide certainty for farmers in a boost to British food production and help to tackle the labour shortages and rising input costs.  Government provides boost to horticulture industry with certainty over seasonal workers - GOV.UK (

New legally binding environment targets set out

Legally binding targets to protect the environment, clean up air and rivers and boost nature have been published by Defra today, 16 December, following consultation

The Government will publish its Environmental Improvement Plan in January 2023 setting out in more detail how to achieve these targets, including interim targets.

Established within the Environment Act, the targets will require:

  • Halt the decline in species populations by 2030, and then increase populations by at least 10% to exceed current levels by 2042
  • Restore water bodies to their natural state by cracking down on harmful pollution from sewers and abandoned mines and improving water usage in households
  • Deliver net zero ambitions and boost nature recovery by increasing tree and woodland cover to 16.5% of total land area in England by 2050
  • Halve the waste per person that is sent to residual treatment by 2042
  • Cut exposure to the most harmful air pollutant to human health – PM2.5
  • Restore 70% of designated features in Marine Protected Areas to a favourable condition by 2042, with the rest in a recovering condition.

New legally binding environment targets set out - GOV.UK (

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