HFSS food & drinks

 A ban on HFSS promotions could knock between 10%-20% off its members’ annual turnovers, sadi FDF Scotland

Food and drink companies have warned proposals by the Scottish government to ban promotions on HFSS products pose a “critical” threat to businesses and jobs in the country.

In its official response to the government’s consultation on its plans to tackle obesity, FDF Scotland said the idea of a ban on multibuys and other price mechanics would affect the “profitability and viability” of many, particularly smaller, companies, who relied on promotions.

The SNP-led government, which set out its plan in October, has already said it is “minded to act” on a new clampdown on HFSS promotions. This could see it go further than ministers in the UK administration, who dropped similar elements from the Childhood Obesity Plan in 2016.

However, FDF Scotland said the move would have huge repercussions for companies that relied on promotions for sales and would hit poorest consumers the hardest.

Products drove, it claimed, between 48%-60% of sales on promotion, with those who were not the brand leader or a household name most in the firing line because of their heavy reliance on such mechanics.

FDF Scotland said its members said a ban on HFSS promotions could knock between 10%-20% off its members’ annual turnovers.

“The key thing from our consultation with suppliers is that they are saying it would be wrong for the Scottish government to punish them for what is a societal issue,” said FDF Scotland CEO David Thomson.

“There is a real fear that legislation is going to harm their businesses and this is particularly the case because Scotland over-indexes in SMEs who feel they are likely to be the hardest hit because of the huge reliance on promotions.

“I spoke to one company for whom promotions represented 90% of their sales.

“My question would be to the Scottish government, do they really want businesses in the country to lose jobs and market share?”