The Scottish Government’s diet and obesity strategy “A Healthier Future” published last year has several eye-catching recommendations.
Among them are restrictions on junk food and the capping of restaurant and takeaway portions. It said ministers are “minded” to clamp down on promotions on food and drink that is high in fat, salt and sugar.
This could include a ban on multi-buy offers on products such as crisps and sweets.
Among the other controversial proposals are introducing portion limits on the size of takeaway, pub and restaurant meals. Food outlets would be forced to attach labels on menus and packaging disclosing how many calories their dishes contain. It also foresaw a role for the controversial “named persons”, which the Scottish Government intends to introduce to every child in Scotland.
Named persons would be “required to be available and responsive to parents to promote support and safeguard the wellbeing of children by providing information, advice, support and help to access other services”.
The document prioritises delivering a weight management for people with or at risk of type 2 diabetes, pointing out that the NHS spends 9 per cent of its total expenditure on treating the condition. This is accompanied by a “worrying increase” in the disease. The recommendations to tackle over- consumption of junk food have been welcomed by medical experts.
But the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), which represents shops including the large supermarket chains, warned they risked hitting “hard-pressed households already struggling with inflation and other rising costs”.
SNP ministers have also said they would “strongly press” the UK Government to ban TV advertising for unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed. The Scottish Government will also examine imposing new restrictions on advertising unhealthy food at locations “used by a high proportion of children”, such as visitor attractions, and on trains and buses.
Ministers will lobby the UK Government to extend the sugar tax on fizzy drinks to include sweet, milk-based beverages containing less than 95 per cent milk.