ALMR calls for ‘balanced and evidence-based approach' to Scottish obesity strategy

05/02/2018 - 07:00
Hospitality trade body the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned the Scottish Government that additional legislation on tackling obesity would risk ‘stifling’ the country’s out-of-home, high street operators.

The organisation warned that while healthy lifestyle initiatives were working well, new restriction laws could potentially limit the sector’s ability to deliver jobs and investment in the economy.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality businesses are of vital importance to the Scottish economy, contributing £4bn to the economy in wages and profits and directly employing 220,000 people, according to a recent report.  

“Licensed hospitality businesses stand ready and willing to work alongside the Government to tackle obesity, but any solutions must be workable and evidence-based.

“Eating and drinking out businesses across the UK are responding successfully to consumer demand and are focused on providing healthier alternatives as well as expanding customer choice. This includes improving menu options, reformulation to reduce sugar and salt content and innovative cooking methods.

“Operators are currently facing severe headwinds with increasing cost and administrative burdens, so a balanced approach from government that encourages both engagement and partnership with businesses is of critical importance. 

“Furthermore, inconsistent regulation and requirements across the UK would mean additional compliance costs and burdens on national operators.”

Key policy priorities for tackling obesity in Scotland will be discussed at a keynote seminar in Edinburgh on 21 February.

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