Junk food promotions 'could be banned in bid to tackle obesity'

Ministers believe restrictions could help Scots with poor diets make healthier choices. 

Scottish Government seeks views on junk food promotions in bid to tackle obesity iStock
Junk food: Restrictions could help tackle obesity, minister argues.

Promotions on junk food may be restricted in a bid to curb obesity in Scotland, a consultation will consider. 

The Scottish Government is seeking views from the public over plans to restrict the promotion of sweets, crisps and sugary drinks at checkouts as well as on multi-buy discounts. 

Ministers believe restrictions could help Scots with poor diets make healthier choices. 

The consultation, which runs until September 23, will assess the impact of the proposed restrictions on businesses and public health, as well as on Scots living in poorer areas.

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) have welcomed the launch of the consultation, with Dr Gillian Purdon adding that promotions “can encourage us to buy more than we need, and don’t necessarily save us money”.

The FSS head of nutrition science and policy said: “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.”