News & Updates

Food-flation continuing to impact Scotland’s wallet

Inflationary pressures result in Scotland’s total grocery spend increasing by 13.4% since 2019, rising to £10.5 billion in 2022, despite the fact that we didn’t buy any more food or drink over the same time frame.  

In addition, shoppers are now buying around a fifth of their baskets on price promotion – such as multi-buys and price reductions - which could encourage purchase of food and drink high in salt, fat or sugar.

These key findings are from a new report released today by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) which examines data on retail food and drink purchased into homes in Scotland between 2019 and 2022.

Alana McDonald, FSS Senior Public Health Nutrition Advisor, says:

“With our weekly spend on groceries continuing to rise – for the same volume of products – it can be easy to be drawn into purchasing more food and drink items on promotion to save money.

“But, the reality is, many items with price promotions are not the cheapest option. Often promotions are on branded products and are more expensive than retailer own brand products to begin with.

“From previous findings, we know that items with price promotions tend to be on products which are high in calories and/or fats, sugar or salt, with little or no  nutritional value, so they aren’t improving  our health; quite the reverse.”

FSS Chief Executive, Geoff Ogle, says the findings reinforce existing evidence that supports action on the restriction of promoting foods and drinks high in salt, fat or sugar.

“We recognise that families now face a real dilemma. Households are under significant pressure so understandably families are making decisions, such as buying items on promotion, to try and make their budgets stretch further.

“But we know that promotions are skewed towards unhealthy options. What we need is action to rebalance our food environment to make healthier options more affordable, so families don’t have this dilemma of buying unhealthy food to match their budgets.

“Promotions and marketing of unhealthy foods are a major part of our food environment and now more than ever what surrounds us, shapes us.”

You can view the full report below.

Respond to the Scottish Government's consultation on the proposed regulations to restrict the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar, or salt here: Restricting promotions of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt - proposed regulations: consultation - (

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