Restricting promotions of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt: consultation

The consultation closes on 23 September 2022. If you are unable to respond by then, please contact us and complete and send the respondent information form (see supporting documents) to Responses received up to 30 September will be accepted and included in the analysis of this consultation.

Executive summary


1. In 2021-22 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government committed to bring forward legislation during this Parliament to restrict 'unhealthier food and drink promotions'.

2. The primary aim of the policy is to reduce the public health harms associated with the excess consumption of calories, fat, sugar and salt, including the risks of developing type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer and other conditions such as cardiovascular disease. We are also aware of the need to reduce diet-related health inequalities, including in relation to socioeconomic disadvantage, and for the policy to support our aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

Foods that would be subject to restrictions

3. We are seeking views on including the following food[1] categories within scope of promotions restrictions:

Option 1: Discretionary foods only

  • confectionery
  • sweet biscuits
  • crisps
  • savoury snacks (for example, cereal snacks, popcorn, corn snacks)
  • cakes
  • pastries (for example, Danish pastries, croissants, pain au chocolats, tarts)
  • puddings (for example, fruit puddings, sponge puddings, sticky toffee pudding)
  • soft drinks with added sugar (this includes soft drinks such as cola or lemonade, as well as juice or milk based drinks with added sugar[2]).

Option 2: Discretionary foods + ice cream and dairy desserts

  • All categories in Option 1 above
  • Ice cream and dairy desserts.

Option 3: Categories that are of most concern to childhood obesity

This option would be consistent with those set out in the UK Government regulations for England.

  • All categories in Options 1 and 2 above
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Sweetened yoghurt and fromage frais
  • Pizza
  • Ready meals
  • Roast potatoes, chips and similar potato products.

Option 4: All categories included in the UK-wide reformulation programmes

  • All categories in Options 1, 2 and 3 above
  • Garlic bread
  • Pies and quiches
  • Bread with additions
  • Savoury biscuits crackers and crispbreads
  • Cooking sauces and pastes
  • Table sauces and dressings
  • Processed meat product
  • Pasta /rice/ noodles with added ingredients and flavours
  • Prepared dips and composite salads as meal accompaniments
  • Egg products/dishes
  • Sweet spreads.

4. We propose to apply the 2004/05 Nutrition Profiling Model[3] (NPM), which is a scoring model developed to identify HFSS products, to all targeted food categories. Foods identified as non-HFSS within targeted food categories would not be subject to restriction.

5. We propose that only pre-packed foods within targeted food categories would be within scope of the restrictions as nutrition and ingredients information is more readily available to support calculation of a NPM score. For unlimited refills for a fixed charge, non-pre-packed soft drinks with added sugar would also be within scope of the policy.

Price promotions

6. We propose to restrict the following types of price promotions on targeted foods[4]:

i) Multi-buys of pre-packed foods, including:

  • "X for Y", (e.g. "buy one get one free", "extra free", and "3 for 2" offers)
  • "Y for £X" (e.g. "3 for £2", meal deals);

ii) Unlimited refills for a fixed charge on soft drinks with added sugar that are HFSS or "less healthy" (as defined by the NPM), whether pre-packed or non-pre-packed.

Location promotions

7. We propose to restrict the location of targeted foods in prominent places in physical premises where they are sold to the public. This would include following locations:

  • checkout areas, including self service
  • end of aisle
  • front of store, including store entrances and covered outside areas connected to the main shopping area
  • island/ bin displays[5].

8. We also propose that these restrictions would apply to the equivalent locations online, for example home and checkout pages.

9. The restrictions would apply to pre-packed targeted foods. Promotions of non-pre-packed soft drinks with added sugar in respect of unlimited refills for a fixed charge would also be within scope of the restrictions.

10. We propose to be consistent in our definition of locations, where appropriate to do so, with those set out in UK Government regulations and Welsh Government consultation proposals.


11. We propose to apply the restrictions to any place where pre-packed targeted foods, and non-pre-packed soft drinks with added sugar in respect of unlimited refills for a fixed charge, are sold to the public in the course of business. This would include:

  • Retail such as supermarkets, convenience stores, discounters and bargain stores (including online sales)
  • Out of home such as takeaway, home delivery services, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, sandwich shops and workplace canteens (including online sales)
  • Wholesale outlets where there are also sales made to the public (including online sales)
  • Other outlets such as clothes shops, tourist shops and pharmacies (including online sales).

12. We propose that the restrictions should also apply to online sales of pre-packed targeted foods from retail, out of home (OOH), wholesale outlets and other outlets selling targeted foods. This would include home delivery services such as third party apps that facilitate the order of food from a restaurant or takeaway to a consumer as well as online grocery shopping sites.

13. The restrictions would not apply:

  • to other wholesale outlets (where sales are only to trade), because any promotion or marketing would not directly encourage the public to purchase the foods
  • where sales are not in the course of business, for example charitable food and bake sales.


14. We propose, as a minimum, that specialist businesses with a limited product range, such as chocolatiers and sweet shops, would be exempt from location restrictions.

15. Restrictions on price promotions would still apply to specialist businesses.

Enforcement and implementation

16. We propose to give local authorities the role of enforcing the proposed policy.

17. We propose to give Ministers powers to issue guidance to local authorities to support effective enforcement of the proposed policy.

18. We propose to develop materials for industry to support effective implementation.

Legislative framework

19. In giving consideration to legislation needed, we propose to aim to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility to future-proof public health policy to develop over time to improve diet and levels of healthy weight.

Monitoring and evaluation

20. It is proposed that the Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland would review and monitor the implementation and impacts of the policy to ensure it produces the intended outcomes.



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