Small Shops Support Continued Use of Voluntary Initiatives to Tackle Obesity

The Scottish Government has launched a new strategy to tackle obesity. Measures proposed in the strategy include working with retailers, producers and the food industry to control exposure to, demand for and consumption of high calorie foods and drinks to tackle obesity in Scotland.

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) said,

“Since 2004, convenience store retailers in Scotland have worked in partnership with the Scottish Government to tackle obesity in Scotland, via the SGF Healthy Living Programme. Convenience stores trade at the heart of communities throughout the country and ensuring there is a strong selection of healthy, fresh produce on offer is an important step in tackling obesity.

“The use of a voluntary approach has helped persuade retailers to engage in the Programme and led to substantial inward investment and innovation in the fresh produce and healthy foods categories by retailers.

“For any retailer the key stakeholder is the customer. For a retailer to operate a profitable business they must know, understand and deliver what the customer wants. It is the customer who decides what they want to eat which must be considered when planning solutions to address obesity.

“To address the problems associated with obesity there needs to be a complete change of culture. Small shops acknowledge they can help to channel a change in behaviour and will continue to work with the Scottish Government to achieve this. However, there needs to be improved education to encourage people to live health lifestyles, increased awareness raising about the health risks associated with obesity and more opportunity for children and adults to take part in regular exercise.”