The advice given to the Scottish Government comes as the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers called on the new prime minister to curb the rampant rise in energy costs threatening small meat firms.
Top of the list were calls to pause plans to restrict the promotion and marketing of food high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS), which FDF Scotland argued would increases the cost of everyday food and drink and put more pressure on struggling Scottish families.
It also called for short-term energy crisis support to be provided to the food and drink industry to mitigate the triple digit percentage increases to energy bills expected by businesses.
Proposals were also made for greater investment in chemical recycling as a means to deal with a greater range of plastic packaging, preventing a greater number of products from going to landfill. A full list of the seven proposals can be found in the box below.
FDF Scotland’s chief executive David Thomson said: “Food and drink inflation continues to soar - stretching hard pressed shoppers and putting strain on Scotland’s food and drink producers.
“The cost pressures facing the food and drink industry now mean containing the price rises is near-on impossible despite the best efforts from our companies.
‘Must take action’
“The Scottish Government must use its powers to take urgent action to help keep the cost of food down and to support Scotland’s vital food and drink businesses to get through these challenging times and ensure future growth.”
FDF Scotland seven point plan
1. Pause plans to restrict the promotion and marketing of food high in fat, salt or sugar. The Scottish Government’s proposals will increase the cost of everyday food and drink putting even more pressure on struggling Scottish families. Smaller Scottish businesses will suffer as they use price promotions to attract shoppers to switch brands.
2. Stop plans that mean illegal littering increases the cost of food for everyone. Current UK proposals for Extended Producer Responsibility are going to add an extra £60 to the annual household shopping bill. In Scotland, this will be even higher if the Scottish Government decides that food and drink producers should be hit with a hefty bill for the illegal behaviour of those who drop litter.
3. Provide short-term energy crisis support for food and drink. As fixed term contracts expire, energy bills are increasing in some cases by 400% to 500%. Food and drink businesses are doing all they can to avoid passing on costs to our shoppers – finding energy efficiencies wherever possible. Support is needed by some businesses to help them remain viable in the short term.
4. Invest in chemical recycling. Chemical recycling offers the potential to recycle a much broader range of plastic packaging materials than traditional recycling. This will help to produce high quality materials to recycle and will be important as local authority kerbside collections begin to collect flexible plastics and film.
5. Invest in carbon dioxide production. There is ongoing concern within the food and drink sector on the supply and availability of carbon dioxide. This is used to carbonate drinks, to extend product shelf life, and to keep food fresh in transport. Investing in carbon dioxide production in Scotland will help the industry become more resilient and prevent future shortages.
6. Provide longer-term funding to support food and drink productivity. FDF Scotland’s Scottish Government funded A Future in Food, Reformulation for Health and Strategic Net Zero Response programmes are supporting food and drink producers to ensure they have the correct skills in place, to make their products healthier, and to reach net zero. Providing longer-term funding to these projects will support the industry to become more productive and resilient, enabling future growth.
7. Work with our closest neighbours on policy that enables the food and drink industry to invest and grow. It is critical that the reserved and devolved aspects of regulation are thought through in a way that supports business to invest in Scotland and trade seamlessly with the other nations in the UK.