Tackling the poor Scottish diet is a priority for Food Standards Scotland (FSS). Particularly given that unless we take action now we risk our children following the same habits and poor diets that have led to current obesity levels of 30%. On this current trajectory the projection is that 40% of people in Scotland will be obese by 2030.
In January 2016, FSS agreed a package with proposals ranging from taxation to regulation around food and drink promotions. Portion size reduction and tougher targets for reformulation of foods and drinks were also recommended.
In the UK approximately 70% of spend on food and drink is purchased into the home and influencing healthier purchases in this setting is a key area to address.
FSS commissioned the University of Stirling research to understand the complex retail landscape which supports our recommendations to extend the sugar tax beyond soft drinks, reformulate products to reduce sugar and fat and salt, improve portion sizes, address less healthy food promotions and provide clearer consumer information in both the retail and out of home sectors.
The report enforces FSS’s view for the need for change in this sector and a retail revolution. This agrees with our previous findings showing that in Scotland around 50% of less healthy food categories are purchased on promotion compared with healthier foods (around 30%).
Dr Gillian Purdon, FSS Senior Dietary Advisor said:
“Food Standards Scotland welcomes this report by the University of Stirling. We believe it is vital that action is taken to change the imbalance of in-store promotions in favour of healthier food and that consumers have the clearest possible information to make informed choices.
“The report supports Food Standards Scotland views and recommendations for the need to extend sugar tax beyond soft drinks, to reformulate products to reduce sugar fat and salt, to resize portions, address less healthy food promotion and to provide clearer consumer information on products in both the retail and out of home sectors. This report will help us to develop new approaches to improve the balance of food offered and promoted by the retail sector.
“It is clear that a combination of measures will be needed overall to enable healthier eating. Regulation of promotions of high fat, salt and/or sugar food and drink within retail stores and out of home premises should be taken forward as a priority.”