Marketing appeal

Call to halt ban on unhealthy food promotions

Food retailers want to avoid further costs (pic: FDF)

Food and Drink industry leaders want the Scottish government to suspend a proposed ban on promoting brands high in fat, salt and sugar.

They say the plan will increase the cost of everyday food and drink, putting even more pressure on struggling Scottish families and small businesses.

Smaller firms claim they will suffer as they use price promotions to attract shoppers to switch brands.

New rules restricting the location of certain products in retail outlets come into effect in England from 1 October and consultations have taken place to introduce similar measures in Scotland and Wales.

In May the Scottish Government announced it would delay a ban on multi-buy promotions and advertising on food and drink products for 12 months due to the “unprecedented” squeeze on living standards.

The call to halt the ban on promoting high fat, salt and sugar products is among a number of demands by the Food and Drink Federation to help the sector control costs and avoid raising prices for consumers.

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The FDF says ministers should also scrap plans to make companies pay for those who drop litter and should invest in new forms of chemical recycling.

In a letter to the First Minsister Nicola Sturgeon, the FDF said it wants the Scottish and UK governments to work together on policy that would enable the industry to invest and grow.

It said 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”. 

FDF Scotland chief executive, David Thomson, said: “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.

“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.”

The FDF’s intervention coincides with a call from Salmon Scotland for greater investment in rural housing in this week’s Programme for Government.

Salmon Scotland is urging ministers to overhaul the current system so that the millions sent to Crown Estate Scotland by salmon farmers are instead ring-fenced for investment in coastal areas.

House prices have risen more in the Highlands and islands than across the whole of Scotland over the past two decades, raising fears that people and businesses are being forced out of the country’s most fragile communities.

Tavish-Scott-with-fish
Tavish Scott: people are priced out of rural housing market

Salmon Scotland says the country’s “cluttered licensing regime and rent hikes” means that more than £20million a year is due to paid by salmon farmers to various regulators and quangos.

The millions sent from rural areas to Crown Estate Scotland in Edinburgh are currently handed to the Scottish Government and redistributed across the entire country.

Salmon Scotland is calling for around £10million of the revenue to be reinvested in rural communities, with a particular focus on housing.

It says this would help attract more people to come and live and work in all jobs in coastal communities, while also retaining locals to help to tackle de-population.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “The shortage of available, affordable housing in island and Highland communities is pricing people out of the housing market, and businesses are experiencing problems recruiting and retaining staff, leading to hard-to-fill vacancies, skills shortages and depopulation.”

Asia-Pacific showcase

A number of Scotland’s premium food and drink producers will showcase their products at one of the world’s biggest trade events which kicks off today in Singapore.

Scottish Development International, the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, will lead a delegation of 13 companies at Food & Hotel Asia (FHA), the continent’s largest food and drink trade event that brings together the global food and hospitality community.

About 35,000 attendees from more than 50 countries and regions are expected to attend the event, which will provide exhibitors with links to buyers including distributors, importers, manufacturers and retailers.

John Davidson, Interim CEO at Scotland Food & Drink, said exports of Scottish food and drink around the world were valued at £6.2 billion in 2021, up £738 million (13.5%) compared to the lockdown year 2020 and up over 14% for the Asia Pacific region. 



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