A think tank has advised that all confectionery, crisps and sugary drinks sold in the UK should wrapped in plain packaging like tobacco products.
This would help to put sweets, crisps and sugary drinks on a level playing-field with unbranded fruit and vegetables which, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says, is necessary for the UK to win the battle against preventable diseases.
The IPPR report claims that these products should be wrapped in plain packaging to reduce the numbers of people whose health is jeopardised by consuming unhealthy snacks and fizzy drink.
The proposal is among a series of radical measures to combat what the think tank terms the “major risks” of preventable diseases, responsible for over half the disease burden in England and almost one in five deaths.
The report also calls an end to day-time TV advertising of confectionary, and for the minimum smoking age to be raised to 21.
It follows research which shows that two decades of progress in reducing the impact of preventable disease on public health – measured in DALYs, or disability-affected life years – has stalled since 2012.
The IPPR report, ‘Ending the Blame Game: The case for a new approach to public health and prevention’, identifies smoking, obesity and alcohol and substance abuse as three main contributors to preventable disease.
As well as plain packaging proposals and a ban on TV advertising on fast food, soft drinks, confectionary and other processed food before the 9pm watershed, the report also calls to extend the current sugar levy on fizzy drinks to cakes, confectionery and other sweetened drinks.
“It’s time to end the pro-obesity supermarkets by putting fruit and veg on a level playing field with crisps and confectionary. Plain packaging would help us all to make better choices and reduce the hassle of ‘pester power’ for busy parents,” said IPPR Director Tom Kibasi.