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Scotland’s largest health board fully complies with National Healthcare Retail Standards

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The country’s largest health board is now fully complies with the national Healthcare Retail Standards (HRS) devised by Scotland’s chief medical officer. 

As a result, people buying food and drink in our hospitals now have greater access to a wide range of healthy option products.

NHS run Aroma cafes, vending machines, canteens, retailers including Marks and Spencer and trolley services have significantly increased their range of healthy choices making it easier than ever for patients, relatives and staff to look after their health.

The board is playing a key role in helping patients, staff and visitors lead healthier lifestyles by making it easier to access nutritious food across its hospital cafes and stores. 

To make it as easy as possible for people to understand which foods are healthy, the healthy retail standard sets out that shops must clearly promote healthier choices through use of branded promotional logos and signage. 

Many retailers display nutritional specifications for items on sale and these are colour coded to show nutritional values, making it easier for people to make informed choices. 

New branding is also being introduced within Aroma and on vending machines to highlight the healthier options available. 

The range of products with improved nutritional values has increased in recent years and studies have identified the positive impact of displaying them at points of sale has on people’s healthy choices. 

Pies with lean fillings, scones with reduced sugar and pasta, rice and noodle pots with sauces low in fat, salt and sugars are just some of the new healthier products to have been introduced over the past few months. 

There have also been restrictions in high sugar drinks with the majority of drinks now on offer being either sugar free or low in sugar. 

Our own food retail policy ensured the board was already well positioned to offer healthy choices. The availability of sugary drinks and snacks high in fat, sugar and salt were already restricted. 

Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health, said: “I’m delighted the board is now fully compliant with NHS Scotland’s national Healthcare Retails Standards as we have a pivotal responsibility to promote health across our population. 

“The board was one of the first to pilot the initiative and for us to have rolled it out across all our sites is a significant achievement. 

“I believe it is playing an important role in educating our residents about the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle and our work has paved the way for others to observe and follow our success. 

“By implementing HRS we can play a part in helping people make positive changes in lifestyle habits by embracing healthier foods.”



As part of this standard, all retailers across the board’s premises have a number of strict criteria they must meet to secure a lease agreement. These include: 

  • 50% of all food must meet nutritional criteria (low in sugar, fat and salt)
  • 70% of all drinks must meet nutritional criteria (sugar free or 0.5g/100g)
  • Food or drinks not meeting the nutritional criteria can’t be promoted
  • The composition of meal deals must meet nutritional criteria (no sugary drinks or snacks high in fat or salt included)
  • Promotions at tills and aisles are only allowed to foods and drinks meeting the nutritional criteria.


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Last Updated: 02 November 2017