A ban on confectionery displays at the till and restrictions on high-calorie foods in shops near schools are among new proposals which could transform the appearance of convenience stores in Scotland.

The Scottish government plans, which would see stores encouraged to increase their range of healthy foods and promote low-calorie options, could also influence policy- makers in Westminster.

A new report published by health minister Shona Robison, Preventing Overweight and Obesity, says the government will look at measures to control exposure to foods that are high in energy, including moving confectionery displays from till points and requiring stores to change the balance of high-calorie products and healthier choices.

It also suggests exploring measures to restrict access by children to "nutritionally inappropriate meals and high-energy and energy-dense foods" from shops situated near schools.

The Scottish government said that it would initially pursue a voluntary approach to achieving healthier eating, but that it would seek to pass legislation after a 2013 review if this failed.

However, retailers believe that legislation aimed at the point of sale is not the answer.

"The use of a voluntary approach has already led to substantial inward investment and innovation in the fresh produce and healthy foods categories by retailers," said Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive John Drummond.

Association of Convenience Stores public affairs director Shane Brennan warned that the Scottish experience could be used to inform similar proposals across the UK. "The health lobby is almost more excited about obesity than alcohol. It will certainly be putting a lot of pressure on the next government to tackle it," he said.

Topics