Supermarket chain signs up to support healthier diets.
Supermarket chain Scotmid is the first major retailer to sign up to a Scottish Government programme to improve the nation's diet.
Supporting Healthy Choices sets out specific voluntary action for the food industry to encourage people to choose healthier food and drink.
Scotmid is an independent co-operative with around 200 convenience stores across Scotland and northern England and has agreed seven commitments. These include removal of confectionery and sugary drinks from till points, where possible, and having healthy options in 'meal deal' offers.
The chain will aim to promote healthier options on all its price-driven campaigns, continue to support the Scottish Government's Eat Better Feel Better campaign, and encourage suppliers to reduce calories, fats, salt and sugars and to take part in the UK's voluntary front-of-pack labelling scheme.
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt visited a Scotmid store in Moredun, Edinburgh, today to welcome them to the scheme.
Ms Watt said:
"Supporting Healthy Choices is all about making it as easy as possible for people to eat and drink healthily. The food and drink industry have a vital role to play in creating a healthier food environment for consumers and we are working with retailers, caterers and manufacturers to encourage them to do everything they can to help make this a reality.
"I'm delighted to be able to welcome Scotmid to Supporting Healthy Choices. They have made a number of commitments, all of which will play a part in helping consumers make healthier choices for themselves and their families.
"Despite improvements in recent years, rates of obesity are still too high in Scotland, and we're also seeing a continued increase in conditions like Type 2 Diabetes. To improve this situation we all need to work together – government, the food industry and consumers."
John Brodie, Chief Executive Officer of Scotmid, said:
"At Scotmid we pride ourselves on making a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate. Like many in the food industry, we understand our responsibility to help customers to make choices, which can have a positive impact on their health.
"The commitments we have signed up to will support healthier living right through the supply chain, but ultimately leave the choice firmly with the customer."
Geoff Ogle, Chief Executive, Food Standards Scotland, added:
"We commend Scotmid and their suppliers on demonstrating their commitment to support and encourage consumers to make healthier choices.
"Improving consumer health is dependent on re-balancing our diets and everyone including consumers, the food and drink industry, media and government has a part to play in achieving this."
The Supporting Healthy Choices voluntary framework was drawn up by the Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland and launched in June 2014.
The framework contains 17 commitments for action across the four core principles. Key areas for action are around shifting the balance of promotions, labelling and reformulation of products, including a focus to reduce calories, salt, fats and added sugar in foods.
For more information visit: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/06/8253