Restricting promotions of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt: consulation have been published.

The Scottish Government’s consultation seeks views on restricting the promotion of confectionery, cakes, crisps, savoury snacks and sugary soft drinks at checkouts and front of store, and on multi-buy discounts.

The consultation seeks views on foods that would be subject to restrictions, types of price promotions that would be subject to restrictions and restrictions on the location of targeted foods.

It also seeks views on enforcement and implementation. It is proposed that local authorities (LAs) are given the role of enforcing the proposed policy. LAs remain responsible for enforcing existing food law in the businesses within scope of this policy, the Scottish Government propose that LAs are best placed to support delivery and enforcement of the policy outlined in this consultation paper.

It is proposed that local authorities are given relevant enforcement powers, including powers of entry and powers to obtain information. Similar to food safety legislation, the Scottish Government are considering that local authorities would also have relevant powers for handling non-compliance with legal requirements.

The consultation will help assess what impact the proposed restrictions would have on businesses and public health, including on health inequalities. It will run for 12 weeks to 23 September 2022.

Minister for Public Health Maree Todd said:

“Our diets remain too high in calories, fat, sugar and salt which can have serious consequences for our overall health.

“In Scotland, two out of three adults are overweight or obese, with those living in our poorest areas more likely to be overweight and experience the most harm as a result.

“We know that promotions can encourage over-consumption and impulse buying.

“By restricting the promotion of less healthy food and drink we can better support people to make healthier choices and help create a Scotland where everyone eats well and has a healthy weight.”

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) Head of Nutrition Science and Policy Dr Gillian Purdon said:

“We welcome the launch of the Scottish Government’s consultation on restricting promotions of foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

“FSS supports the introduction of promotional restrictions on these products as part of a suite of recommendations to address the nation’s poor diet. Promotions can encourage us to buy more than we need, and don’t necessarily save us money.

“Evidence shows that a considerable amount of the food and drink we buy is on promotion, and is often skewed towards less healthy choices such as confectionery, sweet biscuits, savoury snacks, cakes, pastries, puddings and sugar containing soft drinks. These foods account for around 20% of calories and fat in our diet, and more than half of our free sugar intake.

“Restricting promotions of these types of foods is one way to support people to make healthier choices.”

 The consultation runs until 23 September and can be found here