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The Scottish government has launched a consultation on proposals to restrict the promotion of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) in stores.

The consultation, which will run for 12 weeks, outlines the detail of proposed regulations aimed at creating a food environment which better supports healthier choices.

Proposals include restricting multi-buys, unlimited refills, or selling at locations such as at checkouts and front of store.

They broadly follow legislation already introduced in England but go further, with proposals to axe temporary price reductions; free standing displays and islands in store that feature HFSS products; and meal deals that include the likes of crisps and sugary drinks.

Feedback on the proposals will help to inform regulations to be laid before the Scottish Parliament, subject to the outcome of the consultation.

Food and Drink Federation Scotland criticised the proposals. Chief executive David Thomson said the consultation creates a different set of trading regulations for businesses selling into the Scottish stores compared to that in other parts of the UK.

Thomson said the proposals will disproportionately impact small Scottish food and drink producers and will make selling food in Scotland more complex and costly for everyone.

He added: “FDF will work hard to shape these regulations through the consultation to ensure they take into account the impact on our businesses. At the same time our Reformulation for Health programme will be there to continue to support Scotland’s food and drink businesses to make their products healthier.”

Launching the consultation, public health minister Jenni Minto highlighted high levels of excess weight, obesity and poor diet that she said were contributing to worsening trends in Scotland’s health.

She added: “We want to ensure Scotland is a place where we eat well and have a healthy weight. The Scottish government is committed to restricting promotions of foods high in fat, sugar or salt at the point of purchase as research shows this is when people make decisions about what and how much to buy, for themselves and their families.

The consultation closes on 21 May 2024.