Scottish Government committed to restricting food promotions

An analysis on a recent consultation on restricting the promotion and marketing of foods high in fat, sugar, or salt, and have little to no nutritional benefit has been published.  

Following this analysis, the Scottish Government has brought forward the development of the Bill Restricting Foods Promotions in this parliament

There were 726 responses from individuals and organisations on the proposals being considered which included the restriction of multi-buys and junk food displays at checkouts. 

Of the 726 responses analysed, 632 were from individuals (87%) and 94 were from organisations (13%) – comprising 55 (59%) from non-industry organisations (public sector, third sector and other) and 39 (41%) from industry organisations (manufacturers, industry representative bodies, retailers and Out of Home sector).

The analysis also examines views on the overall aim of reducing public health harms associated with the excessive consumption of food and drink which is high in fat, sugar or salt.

Following the consultation, the Scottish Government announced in the Programme for Government that it will bring forward a Bill on Restricting Foods Promotions in this parliament.

In general, there was support for the aim to reduce the public health harms associated with the excessive consumption of calories, fat, sugar and salt and diet-related conditions. However, views were mixed as to whether the restrictions proposed were the most appropriate way to achieve this.

Across the consultation, distinct viewpoints emerged by respondent type. Many respondents from non-industry organisations felt the proposed approach was necessary in light of the scale of the public health challenge, purchasing patterns and the shortcomings of other approaches. 

Many respondents from industry either disagreed with the approach or did not indicate a specific view but raised concerns and suggested alternative approaches. In effect, support for the specific proposals, where they were restrictive, was low and, where they were not restrictive or allowed exemptions, was higher.

Individual respondents were fairly split in their view. Support for the approach was more common overall, generally acknowledging the problem of obesity in Scotland and that the proposed restrictions would reduce the likelihood of people buying and consuming excessive amounts of unhealthy foods.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“We want to reduce the harms caused by poor diet and weight and make it easier for people to make healthier choices.

“Having the right measures in place to restrict junk food promotions which encourage over-consumption and impulse buying will help us achieve our ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. That’s why I will introduce a Bill as soon as is practicable.

“The independent analysis published today will help to inform the development of the Bill.”

REHIS is a registered charity in Scotland, SC009406

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