News article

9 January 2019

Scottish Government food and drink promotions restrictions set to detrimentally impact small Scottish businesses

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Today, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland has submitted their members' response to the Scottish Government's consultation on restricting the promotions of food and drink products: 'Reducing health harms of foods high in fat, sugar or salt'.

David Thomson, CEO of FDF Scotland, said:
“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.

“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 £1M 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.”

Notes for editors

  1. Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland is the voice of the Scottish food and drink manufacturing industry and is a is a division of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) - the voice of the UK food and drink manufacturing industry.
  2. Food and drink manufacturers are a key part of the Scottish economy – they have an annual turnover of over £10bn and provide 45,000 high quality jobs. Industry stats can be found on FDF Scotland's website.  
  3. The Scottish Government's Reducing health harms of foods high in fat, sugar or salt consultation can be found on their website.
  4. Over 5 years FDF members have reduced energy in the average basket by 5.5% and sugars by 12.1%. Reference: Kantar Worldpanel UK data for FDF total membership (2013-2017).
  5. During the lifetime of the latest salt targets (2012 to 2017) FDF Scotland members have reduced salt by a further 11.4%, continuing to build on more than 15 years of steady reformulation work. Reference: Kantar Worldpanel UK data for FDF total membership (2012-2017).

More information

Contact Kirsty Ritchie, Food and Drink Federation Scotland, at:, or 0131 222 8040.

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