FDF Scotland criticises restrictions on food promotions

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Small manufacturers and food industry jobs are at risk from restriction to promotions
Small manufacturers and food industry jobs are at risk from restriction to promotions
Restricting promotions on food and drink products will detrimentally impact small Scottish businesses, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland has claimed.

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s consultation ‘Reducing health harms of foods high in fat, sugar or salt’, ​FDF Scotland chief executive David Thomson said the new restrictions would cost the organisation’s members millions of pounds.

“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,” ​said Thomson.

A blanket ban on food promotions, including end-of-floor displays and free samples, would undermine the work the industry has done in recent years to tackle the challenge of obesity in Scotland, he added.

‘Adopted across the UK’

“Favourite products have been reformulated to reduce sugar, calories, fat and salt. Portion sizes have been limited. Some of these principles 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.”

As well as providing no evidence of the effectiveness that the Government’s measures would have in tackling obesity, the new legislation also risked destroying competitiveness and innovation in the food and drink sector, he said.

‘Fundamental commercial freedom’

Thomson added: “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.”

Thomson urged the Government to work in partnership with the industry to consider the potential impact that these restrictions would have.

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