The Scottish Government’s plan to restrict the marketing of foods high in sugar, salt and fat has been met with scepticism and disapproval from food and drink bosses.
Writing in a response to the Government, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland said there was “no evidence” that the proposed measures would reduce obesity levels.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Scottish Government is pressing ahead with legislation to restrict food and drink promotions. Especially since there is no evidence of the effectiveness of these measures in tackling obesity said David Thomson,” CEO of FDF Scotland.
“The promotion to adults of all foods is a fundamental commercial freedom. It underpins the healthy, vibrant and innovative market for food and drink that shoppers love. They allow new products and brands to win space on supermarket shelves and help new food and drink products to get shoppers’ attention.
“Iconic Scottish brands who sell more of their products in Scotland will be disproportionately affected by restrictions, such as banning of end of floor displays and free samples.
“As an example, for just one of our members, these types of restrictions would reduce their sales by up to £1 million per year and will likely result in major redundancies. This is just one example of why small Scottish businesses are deeply concerned about the Scottish Government’s proposals.
“For more than ten years the food and drink industry has risen to Scotland’s significant obesity challenge. Favourite products have been reformulated to reduce sugar, calories, fat and salt. Portion sizes have been limited. Some of these principals have now been adopted across the UK as part of Public Health England’s own reformulation programmes.
“Preventing companies from promoting reformulated, healthier options to consumers would be illogical; but that’s what the Scottish Government wants to do. This is a bizarre and contradictory public health policy.
“The Scottish Government must consider the potential impact these restrictions will have on our vital food and drink industry, which makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy. Instead of punishing Scottish businesses, we urge the Scottish Government to work in partnership with the industry to make a real difference to the health of the Scottish people.”