CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver hailed Scotland's obesity strategy as an 'example to the world' after trailblazing plans to restrict cut-price deals on foods high in fat, sugar and salt were revealed.

Scotland will be the first country in the world to use legislation to ban retailers from selling junk food at knocked down prices and on special promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free or two-for-three, if the Scottish Government's proposals go ahead.

Mr Oliver, who has been a long-time campaigner to improve children's diets said: "How fantastic to see Scotland make a make a bold, brave and trailblazing move to transform our kids’ diets.

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"Holyrood has outlined plans for a multi-pronged obesity strategy, including new rules around the marketing and advertising of unhealthy food.

"This is an amazing step towards making sure the healthiest choice is the easiest choice – for everyone.

"Today, Scotland has set an example to the rest of the world."

The crackdown is expected to apply across the food industry to takeaways, restaurants and venues such as cinemas too, where menus are "skewed towards less healthy options". Mandatory menu labelling and controls on portion sizes such as calorie caps are among the measures under consideration.

Read more: Junk food deals blamed for huge sugar consumption 

In a consultation document unveiled today [thu], the Scottish Government it was "not sufficient" to rely on exercise and personal responsibility to tackle the nation's weight crisis and that it wanted to tackle the problem based on the lessons learned from the fight against tobacco and alcohol. Scotland was the first part of the UK to introduce the smoking ban and has been trying for the past decade to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.

HeraldScotland: More than a third of Britons aged between 45 and 54 are obese, according to a study by Bupa Health Pulse

The consultation said: "Consumer education and personal responsibility are important, together with physical activity, but they will not be sufficient to produce the change we want to see across Scotland as a whole and they will not be sufficient for people who are already overweight and obese.

"Interventions that rely less on individual choice and more on changes to the wider environment are essential in making healthier choices easier when we eat at home, eat out or eat on the go."

Read more: Doctors call for tough restrictions on food and alcohol advertising

The paper also sets out ambitions for a blanket ban on advertising unhealthy foods on television before the 9pm watershed - not only between children's programmes. The Scottish Government said that if Westminster declined to implement this, Holyrood would press for powers over broadcast advertising to be devolved to Scotland. Research will also be commissioned into a potential ban on marketing junk food on trains, buses, transport hubs, school routes and near attractions popular with children.

The Scottish Government also called for the to sugar levy - controlled by Westminster - to be extended sugary milk-based drinks such as milkshakes and hot chocolate if they contain less than 95 per cent milk. It said the current 75 per cent threshold was "much too low, allowing milk to be used as a carrier of added sugars into children’s diets".

The plans have been welcomed by obesity and cancer campaigners, and chef Jamie Oliver who has been a long-time campaigner to improve children's diets.

Read more: Watchdogs urges 'radical steps' by stores to curb junk food promotions

Gregor McNie, Cancer Research UK’s senior public affairs manager in Scotland, said: “In tackling multi-buy offers on junk food, regulation will be crucial. Multi-buy offers on alcohol are already regulated in Scotland and the same thing must be done for junk food.

“Scotland has been in the grip of an obesity epidemic for too long. Not only does Scotland have one of the heaviest populations in Europe, but Scots also buy double the amount of food and drink on price promotion than shoppers on the Continent."

Lorraine Tulloch, of Obesity Action Scotland, added: “All of these changes will help make it easier for everyone to make the healthy choice when filling their shopping baskets or eating out.”

Read more: Obesity to blame for 'more than one in 10' bowel cancer cases

In Scotland latest figures show that 35 per cent of all food and drink purchased was on price promotion, with food high in fat, salt and sugar more nearly twice as likely to be purchased on promotion than healthier alternatives. However, the consultation said that engaging with the food and drink industry "has not delivered sufficient commitment to action, particularly in relation to promotions"

Obesity increases the risk of developing Type II diabetes, 13 types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and depression. The consultation said it was time to shift the debate away from individual responsibility. I

The Scottish Government said it would explore options to strengthen food labelling, invest £200,000 over the next 3 years to help Scottish small and medium businesses reformulate their products to reduce sugar, fat and salt, and commit £42 million over five years to establish supported weight management interventions as a core part of treatment services for people with, or at risk of, Type II diabetes.

David Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland, said the industry was already "playing its part" in this with reformulation, limiting portion sizes and voluntary front-of-pack labelling, and warned that tougher regulation would hit the poorest consumers hardest.

He said: “Restricting promotions will hit the poorest shoppers hardest – at a time when all customers are seeing increases to the cost of their weekly shopping basket. The regulation of promotions within retail premises is a hugely complicated area and could create unfair disadvantage to different types of products.

"We would urge Scottish Government to consult widely and to gather evidence on the financial, practical and legal implications for businesses and consumers before seeking to change the law."

A spokesman for the Advertising Association added: "We believe advertising freedoms are important. The rules must balance sensible consumer protection measures with the freedom to advertise so that responsible companies can innovate and re-formulate, as well as create returns on their investment."

Willie MacLeod, Executive Director for Scotland at the British Hospitality Association, said the proposals would saddle businesses with another "legislative burden".

He added: “The hospitality industry is already facing a perfect storm due to increased business rates, increased payroll costs and the impact of Brexit. Increasing financial pressure on businesses will see businesses forced to further cut costs, and could see price rises for consumers."