Confectionery could face hardline sales restrictions similar to those for tobacco and alcohol, independent retailers fear.

The Scottish Government has unveiled a scheme, due to be rubber-stamped in early autumn 2013, asking retailers to remove all confectionery from points of purchase across Scotland, to reduce the scope for impulse buys. Holyrood has the power to enforce the voluntary measure in law, if required, to tackle obesity.

scots retailers invited to move sweets from tiil
What would you place there instead?

John Drummond, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), told Retail Express it was a dangerous precedent for Government to start interfering with how retailers lay out their shops.

He said: “I firmly believe the job of the retailer is to offer the consumer choice. The job of the Government is to educate people to make an informed choice. But if there’s no improvement in the obesity figures then they might take more draconian measures.”

Retailers are already taking steps to help combat obesity, through the SGF’s Healthy Living programme, which encourages people to eat more fruit and veg.

In March last year, JTI head of communications Jeremy Blackburn warned Retail Express that the template used for tobacco sales regulation is being used to set the path ahead for other industries.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said retailers certainly have a role to play in tackling obesity but there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“Proposals like removing confectionery from checkouts is not feasible in a small store, where everything the shop sells is located close to the checkout,” he said.

Ashok Shukla, of Parkstone Late Store in Poole, Dorset, was worried any law could be rolled out to the rest of the UK.

He said: “They are copying everywhere. With plain packaging for tobacco, first it was Australia and now Ireland, and Scotland wants to do the same.

“What happens to a one-man team at a railway station kiosk where all they have is a till front. Where do they put their confectionery?”

 

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