Health groups and campaigners have united to call on the First Minister to curtail promotions on food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt in a bid to tackle the “major public health crisis” that is Scotland’s weight problem.
Twenty organisations signed a letter urging Nicola Sturgeon to include legislation in this autumn’s Programme for Government.
Almost one-in-three adults and over one-in-eight children in Scotland are obese.
Campaigners said multi-buy deals “encourage people to buy a greater number of unhealthy products”.
Children’s health expert Professor Steve Turner said the Scottish government “must be bold” in the restrictions it places on price promotion and marketing.
“Research tells us that the food and drink children see strongly influences the food choices they make and how much they eat,” he explained.
The Scottish Government has pledged to halve the childhood obesity rate by 2030. A spokesperson said: “One of the ways we are seeking to do this is by restricting the promotion and marketing of some of discretionary foods high in fat, sugar or salt with little or no nutritional benefit.”
The findings of a public consultation on Holyrood’s proposals to tackle junk food have yet to be published.
However in its submission, the Scottish Grocers Federation slammed the proposals as lacking in evidence, badly thought through and unenforceable.
Food and Drink Federation Scotland boss David Thomson was also critical of any potential clampdown.
“There is no evidence that restricting food and drink promotions will reduce our waistlines,” he said. “What it will do is increase the cost of your weekly shop and add confusion for shoppers.”