Scottish government has published a Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, ‘A Healthier Future’ which aims to halve childhood obesity by 2030. However, the measures proposed in the plan has raised concerns among the local shops. Plan contains a number of measures to restrict the promotion and advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
Measures announced for consultation later this year in the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan include: Restricting promotion of targeted foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar (including multi-buys, upselling, use of coupons and promotion of value); Restricting the location where targeted foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar can be sold in within a store environment and Restricting the sale of energy drinks to under 16s
The Scottish Government has also requested that the Advertising Standards Authority strengthen the implementation of its CAP code by removing advertising of HFSS foods within a radius of 800 metres of any site with 25% or more footfall by under 16 year olds, including schools.
“Giving children the best possible start in life is one of this Government’s key priorities. We’ve pledged to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and that ambition is at the heart of our delivery plan. I am proud to publish it at the start of National Childhood Obesity Week,” said Joe Fitzpatrick, Public Health Minister.
“But this is not just about children; two-thirds of adults in Scotland are overweight, and I want everyone, across all sectors including government, citizens, the public and third sectors and businesses to play their part in achieving our bold vision to significantly reduce health inequalities,” Fitzpatrick added.
Responding to the plan, various trade bodies called on the government to consider the impact of their proposals on small shops.
Pete Cheema OBE, chief executive of Scottish Grocers Federation said: “Given the condition of the high street and the number of shop closures, if the Scottish Government were to consider introducing additional measures to that of the rest of the UK, this would place extra costs on to Scottish retailers and in particular convenience retailers who operate in a hyper competitive retail grocery market.”
James Lowman, chief executive of Association of Convenience Stores commented: “We believe that any new regulation must not disproportionately affect small shops and have concerns about any measure that would restrict where retailers are allowed to display products, as many of our members operate very small stores where layout changes would be difficult and costly.”
David Thomson, chief executiveof Food and Drink Federation Scotland, said: “We are deeply disappointed that the Scottish Government is pressing ahead with legislation to restrict food and drink promotions and advertising. Especially since there is no evidence of the effectiveness of these measures in reducing our waist lines. FDF Scotland has been clear that these restrictions are most likely to affect smaller Scottish businesses who use pricing and promotions to increase on-shelf visibility.”
The plan also announced an upcoming consultation on a mandatory age restriction for the sale of energy drinks to under-16s. ACS research has shown that 64 percent of Scottish independent retailers already do not sell energy drinks to under 16s.
Lowman continued: “Over half of convenience stores are currently not selling energy drinks to under-16s, and convenience stores are already at the front line of enforcing the law on other age restricted products. If the Scottish Government sees fit to introduce a regulatory age restriction on energy drinks, we will work closely with retailers to ensure that the policy is implemented across the sector appropriately.”