Maria Chaplia, media associate at the Consumer Choice Center, also voiced her concerns over the report. She said that nannying consumers by taking the responsibility for food choices off their shoulders is “a curse in disguise”.
“There is no one who denies the importance of addressing obesity. Yet there is a huge disagreement on how to solve the issue.
“The options on the table are either to limit consumer choice by proceeding with plain packaging, taxes, and other bans, or to encourage responsible parenting and physical activity without trumping on anyone’s choices. The latter is the preferred way forward.”
She added: “Plain packaging of tobacco products is driven by similar public health considerations. However, regardless of the equally noble motives in place, its failures are numerous and evident.
“The British obesity problem is rooted in the lack of physical activity, not in consumption preferences. According to Public Health England, physical activity in the UK declined by 24% since the 1960s.
“By pushing forward the plain packaging of foods, its proponents are simply shooting in the wrong direction.”
She concluded that “the most unacceptable part” of the IPPR’s plain packaging scheme is that it stems from the assumption that it knows what choices are better for individuals.
“Though framed to be in the public interest, this is highly pretentious. Not only does this belief undermine the ability of consumers to decide for themselves, but it also blocks their access to the information about the products they buy and consume.
“Information is dispersed through branding. Plain packaging is aimed to make our life plain of choices.”