The Scottish government has paused plans to restrict the promotion of foods high in fats, salt and sugar (HFSS) in convenience stores.

The bill, which would limit multibuy promotions and the placement of HFSS products, has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

Although there is no clear definition on what foods are classed as HFSS, it is widely believed products such as chocolate bars, soft drinks and cereals would be affected by the legislation.

Sugar tax is having little effect on retailers

Scottish Grocers Federation chief executive Pete Cheema said: “We are delighted that that the Scottish government has listened to our concerns and taken this very pragmatic approach to this legislation.

“These are unprecedented times. Our industry will need time and support to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and it would have been ill-advised to enact this legislation which would have been costly, disruptive and ineffective.”

In the Scottish government’s announcement of the cancellation, minister of Scottish parliament Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact, including on the food and drink and retail industries, and on consumer behaviour. It is not yet clear what its long-term impact will be.

Sugar tax extension proposed by PHE

“It is important we understand this fully and that we assess the economic and equality impacts of our proposed measures post-pandemic.

“Pausing the introduction of the bill provides us with an opportunity to take stock. It enables us to take into account the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, including on people’s diet and healthy weight. We will be able to consider fully whether a more wide-ranging bill is required to tackle Scotland’s diet and weight problem after the pandemic.”

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