A government spokesman described the standard as “a halfway house between voluntary self-regulation and legislation”. It would provide a benchmark for the responsible marketing of food and drink to "cut the consumption of food high in fat, salt and sugar”, he added.
Minister for public health Michael Matheson said: “Scotland has the third highest levels of obesity in the world, caused in part by an overconsumption of food high in fat and sugar. So this is an exciting new piece of work, which has the potential to become a world leader in the area of advertising, and I’m delighted that Scotland is at the forefront.
‘Significantly influenced by marketing’
“We know that people are significantly influenced by marketing and advertising. By introducing a standard for the responsible marketing of these products, we can begin to address some of the significant public health issues caused by our poor diet.”
Dr Colette Backwell, director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF), welcomed the initiative.
“The Food and Drink Federation, working in Scotland through SFDF, is keen to work with the Scottish government in partnership to help tackle obesity,” said Backwell. “The meeting to discuss the concept of a Scottish marketing standard was constructive, but just the first step in the process and primarily designed to brief us on what that process will be.”
Matheson said he was encouraged that representatives from some of the major supermarkets, catering companies and food manufacturers were taking part in the first stage.
“I am determined that we collectively deal with this issue and this new standard will help the food industry play a leading role in being part of the solution,” he said.