CONSUMERS BUY MORE HIGH FAT, SALT AND SUGAR FOODS ON PROMOTION THAN HEALTHIER ITEMS

A review, published by NHS Health Scotland, studies the impact of promotions on high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food and drink on consumer purchasing and consumption behaviour, and the impact of retail based interventions on promotions.

The review found that the uptake of promotions on HFSS foods is much higher than for promotions on foods that support a healthy diet and spending on price promotions in the UK is the highest in Europe.

Temporary price reductions are the most prevalent form of promotion in Scotland, multi-buy type price promotions tend to be more common for HFSS compared to healthier food and drink. Price promotions also increase the volume of food and drink purchased in Scotland with multi-buy type promotions driving the biggest increases in volume purchased.

Changes to the environments which determine what people buy and what people eat are needed to help prevent excess weight gain, and to support individuals to maintain a healthy weight.

With uptake of price promotion at around 40% of energy intakes for all Scottish population groups; restrictions on promotions of HFSS foods and drinks are likely to affect purchasing behaviour regardless of level of deprivation or income.

Obesity in Scotland is one of the main contributors to physical and mental illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression and thirteen cancers.  Overweight and obesity now affect the majority of adults and a significant proportion of children.  In 2016, two thirds (65%) of adults were overweight including 29% who are obese and just over one in four (29%) children were at risk of being overweight, including 14% at risk of obesity.

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