The ACS has criticised proposals by the Scottish government to restrict promotions in convenience stores.

The Scottish Government is consulting on restricting the in-store marketing and promotion of foods high in fat, sugar or salt. The consultation is part of the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, and will inform assessments of impact and possible legislation.

The restrictions would cover confectionery, sweet biscuits, crisps, savoury snacks, cakes, pastries, puddings, and soft drinks with added sugar. Views are being sought on whether to also cover ice-cream and dairy desserts.

The proposed restrictions would include, among other things, multi-buys, display at checkouts, purchase rewards such as vouchers and loyalty card points, unlimited refills and upselling of increased sizes or extra products and other marketing activities where they are being sold.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Eating a poor diet and being overweight or obese causes serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and it is clear that we must take decisive action.

“Restricting the in-store promotion and marketing of food high in fat, sugar or salt is crucial to tackling our nation’s damaging relationship with junk food.

“This is a ground-breaking policy and follows Scotland’s proud history of taking pioneering and ambitious public health actions, such as the smoking ban and minimum unit pricing for alcohol. We are consulting to deliver a policy that is proportionate and delivers positive outcomes.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The proposals to restrict promotions in convenience stores and other businesses are a blunt instrument to tackle a complex issue and will undermine retailers’ ability to compete and communicate value to consumers. However, we welcome that the consultation acknowledges that restricting the siting of products cannot work in small retail outlets where there is limited space to move products without significant disruption.”

The consultation runs from 2 October 2018 to 9 January 2019.