Pause ‘meal deal ban’ to consider impact on independent convenience stores

Press Releases 24 May 2024

Proposed restrictions on food promotions will have disproportionate impact on small businesses

The proposed junk food crackdown in Scotland, including a ban on meal deals containing fizzy drinks and crisps, will have a disproportionate impact on independent convenience stores, says FSB Scotland.

In response to the Scottish Government consultation on its proposals to restrict the promotion of foods high in salt, sugar or fat, FSB is calling for a pause to allow for a detailed assessment of the impact of the new rules on smaller businesses.

The proposed measures will restrict unlimited refill and multi-buy offers, such as meal deals and two-for-one promotions, as well as selling at locations such as at checkouts and front of store.

The restrictions would affect smaller businesses with 50 or more employees selling pre-packaged food to the public, including, but not limited to, independent convenience stores.

Victoria Manson, FSB Deputy Head of Policy (Scotland), said: “Smaller businesses are operating in an increasingly complex environment that is awash with new and impending regulations and requirements. We know that over a tenth of small businesses already spend more than eight hours a week on regulatory compliance, time they could otherwise spend running and developing their business.

“We strongly urge the Scottish Government to pause and take the time to further consult with some of the smaller businesses who will be impacted. That would provide a thorough understanding of the challenges they face and enable the creation of a framework of support that would allow them to accommodate these new regulations.

“The consultation also suggests taking 12 months to implement the new rules once they are approved. We don’t think that is long enough. Many businesses will have to undertake changes across a number of premises which will take a great deal of time.”

FSB has also stressed the importance of ensuring the rules stay, wherever appropriate, aligned with the legislative approach in England in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion.


For further information contact:

Euan McGrory[email protected] - 07734 509227

Notes to Editors    

  • The FSB Big Small Business Survey 2023 found over a tenth of Scottish small businesses spend more than eight hours per week on regulatory compliance.
  • The Scottish Government has published a number of consultations proposing changes impacting small businesses over the course of the last few years. The following is a non-exhaustive list: • The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill • Call for Views on Royal Mail service changes • Building Community Wealth in Scotland • Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan – delivering a fair and secure zero carbon energy system for Scotland • Restricting Alcohol Advertising and Promotion (with a further consultation expected) • Heat in Buildings Bill • Single-use food containers and other single-use items • The Deposit Return Scheme • Scotland’s Circular Economy.
  • The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is a non-profit, non-party-political organisation that offers its members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice heard in governments.  Founded in 1974, FSB celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024. More information is available at
  • Micro and small businesses comprise almost all enterprises in Scotland (98%), employ 900,000 people and turn over £82bn.