Plan for a new Scottish advertising standard for food and drink unravels as leading industry bodies walk away

The Scottish Government’s plans for a new standard around the responsible marketing of food and drink has run into difficulty as a coalition of the major industry bodies involved in its production have walked away.

In April this year the Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, pledged that he would create a new standard of marketing around food and drink in Scotland, which would be a halfway house between voluntary self-regulation and legislation, as the government continued to tackle the problem of obesity.

However, some of the major industry bodies involved, including The Scottish Food and Drink Federation, British Soft Drinks Association, Scottish Retail Consortium and the Advertising Association, have walked away from the project.

A spokesperson for the Advertising Association explained: “Brands, agencies and the media play a big part in responsible food and drink marketing, and will continue to work with the Scottish Government. Unfortunately the PAS [Publically Available Specification] did not strike a balance between public health, maintaining choice and giving customers value for money.”

It is not known how this will affect the PAS, which was intended to be finalised and published by Summer 2014.

The Drum has requested a comment from The Scottish Government.

Update: A Scottish Government spokesperson told The Drum: “The process of developing a standard is still underway and we will continue to work with the British Standards Institute to develop a Scottish Standard.”

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