Restricting promotions on food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt

Closes 23 Sep 2022

Opened 1 Jul 2022


In 2021-22 Programme for Government (link will open in new window), the Scottish Government committed to bring forward legislation during this Parliament to restrict ‘unhealthier food and drink promotions’.

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.

To progress these aims, we propose to restrict the promotion of high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) food and drink ('food') where these are sold to the public, including across retail and out of home settings. The HFSS foods we are considering targeting include, among other things, confectionery, cakes, crisps, savoury snacks and soft drinks with added sugar. The promotion types we are considering restricting include, among other things, multi-buys and positioning restrictions, such as at checkouts and front of store.

In this consultation, we are seeking views on proposals to restrict promotions on the following issues:

  • Introducing restrictions on promotions of additional food categories beyond so-called ‘discretionary foods’ (foods that provide little or no nutritional benefit and are not necessary for a healthy diet)
  • Types of promotions that should be restricted
  • Places where restrictions should apply, including possible exemptions
  • Enforcement and implementation of the proposed restrictions
  • Impact on business and health inequalities
  • Potential for policy consistency with the equivalent UK Government restrictions for England.

Read the consultation paper 

Why your views matter

We previously consulted in 2018/19 on proposals to restrict the promotion and marketing of HFSS foods where they are sold to the public. There have been significant changes since our previous consultation including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing impacts of our exit from the EU and the current increasing cost of living. 

In light of these changes in context, we are consulting again to inform and assist with the development and impact assessment of this policy. This will help us to assess whether the proposed measures are proportionate as well as to consider their impact on health inequalities. This consultation also provides a chance for us to hear views on our proposals in the context of the UKG regulations for England and the proposals for Wales set out in the recent Welsh Government consultation paper. This will help us consider in more detail the potential for policy consistency where that is in Scotland’s best interests.

Give us your views


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