The Scottish Government has published its plans to restrict the sale of HFSS products through additional rules on price promotions and the location of HFSS products in stores, with the intention of putting in place more restrictions than those already in place in England.

While the proposals, scheduled for implementation 12 months after regulations are laid in the Scottish Parliament, broadly follow those that have been introduced in England, additional restrictions being proposed include:

Temporary price reductions (for example 10% off a product for a defined period of time)
Free standing displays and islands in store that feature HFSS products
Meal deal restrictions in some form, either those that contain one or more HFSS products, or discretionary foods (multiple options are set out in the consultation)
ACS has previously called on the Scottish Government to align its approach with the UK Government to ensure that it’s as operationally workable as possible for retailers and suppliers, although it had urged the Scottish Government to reconsider the inclusion of symbol groups within the rules, as they should be considered as independent retailers and not in the same category as a franchise or multiple store.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed that the Scottish Government plans to go even further with restrictions on HFSS products in stores than the rules that are already in place in England. This will cause additional confusion for retailers operating on both sides of the border. The evidence from England so far is that the HFSS location restrictions are not proving effective at changing consumer behaviour, amounting to little more than an expensive hassle for both retailers and customers.

“It’s also extremely disappointing that the Scottish Government has no plans to address the inclusion of symbol group retailers within the regulations, despite referencing this issue extensively in the consultation. Symbol group retailers are independent retailers running their own businesses, this should not be a difficult concept to deal with. We will continue to make the case to the Scottish Government in the consultation period that symbol retailers should be exempt.”

The consultation is due to run until 21 May 2024. ACS will be responding in due course.

Full details of the consultation are available here:

ACS has produced detailed Assured guidance on the HFSS rules for England, which is available here:


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