Remember the old game 'join the dots', where you are given lots of dots with numbers, and when you drew over them in the right order with your pen, eventually you would have revealed a finished outline of a horse or a dog, or maybe a flower? Sometimes I think that is what I am trying to do when writing. Let’s be honest, it’s never going to be a Botticelli or a Rubens, but hopefully it is vaguely recognisable.

Sometimes the dots in my mind don’t add up into a coherent picture; no matter how much you try and coerce them into something recognisable. My old school rugby coach Bill Crow used to say to us 'pair up in threes' – as fifteen-year-old boys we inexplicably found it very amusing.

Here’s a very odd pair of threes for you this week.

The first one is the cost of living, the second is the cost of fruit and veg, and the third one is the delayed ban on promotion of junk food. I have been juggling these interlinking problems in my head for days and it just doesn’t add up to anything that makes sense, because the choices our political leaders and the retailers are making (and not making) to tackle these connected issues don’t make sense either.

Although the cost of fresh fruit and veg has risen significantly in the past few months, up around 7%, by far the largest increase has been on fuel and energy. The price cap increase for energy was 54% in April, and fuel prices have increased almost 50% from this time two years ago. Food is certainly more expensive than it was, but the UK is still one of the cheapest places on the planet for food, with the percentage of average household income spent on food around 10%. Having said that, this rises to 14% in lower income households. What might surprise you is that this is still lower than the average spent in Japan, which is 15 to 17%.

The cost of living is not 'apocalyptic' because of food, as the Bank of England unhelpfully claimed in a parliamentary committee last week, it is because of fuel and energy. The cost of food is rising in no small part because of that rise in fuel and energy cost. Alleviate the cost of energy problem and you will automatically help with the cost of food. Times of national crisis call for drastic measures; surely a windfall tax on energy and fuel companies is inevitable?

Yet what has been the UK government response? To delay the ban on junk food promotions. Good policy decisions are scarce at the best of times, so it is particularly depressing to see them junk one of their better ones. Scottish Government budget for the NHS in 2021/22 was £17.5 billion, of which at least 10% will be spent on type 2 diabetes stemming from obesity. That’s £1.7bn on avoidable diabetes. (By comparison, The Rural Economy and Tourism budget is £1.2bn, and only about half of that is invested in farming).

Many other serious health issues, from cancer to depression, are exacerbated, or caused in some way, by being overweight, so the real cost is much higher. People don’t choose to be overweight, and losing weight is extraordinarily difficult. We are hard wired as a species to eat to excess in times of plenty, so the ban on 'Buy one get one free' (BOGOF) for high salt and sugar foods made a huge amount of sense, and 8 out of 10 Scots are in favour of it according to a YouGov poll – we want to be saved from ourselves.

It is characteristically short sighted and brainless that it is about to be shelved indefinitely. Scotgov have been remarkably quiet on the subject, preferring to hide in the shadows while the UK government take the flak. Why have they not acted unilaterally to ban BOGOFs for junk food in Scotland? They are every bit as culpable until they do.

Supermarkets make lots of noise about trying to encourage healthy eating. There are lots of coloured pie charts on their web sites, but if you look closely, the dots don’t join up here either. Take Sainsbury’s (arguably one of the more progressive ones) as an example. The EatWell guide on their web page advises 40% of grocery spend should be on fruit and veg, yet at Sainsbury’s it languishes at 27%. 10.4% of sales were vegetables last year, and the target for 2025 is 11.2%. It all feels a bit unambitious to me.

Sainsbury and Tesco admirably agreed to ignore the UK government’s delay and unilaterally bring in Henry Dimbleby’s guidelines against junk food promotions last week. That’s a great start, but it needs to go further if there is to be any chance of a step change.

The other side of the equation is the cost of healthy fruit and veg. Retailers are determinedly hanging on to large profits in fruit and veg sales by passing on higher costs of produce to their customers. Growers have absorbed higher costs of production for decades now, helping to keep the cost of fruit and veg down. It is time for retailers to get together and do the right thing by making less profit from selling healthier food for the sake of their customers. They could promote fruit and veg as loss leaders.

The food retailers hold the health of their customers in their hands. They are immensely powerful. They are not doing enough. If they don’t agree to do more, UK and Scottish government should force them to.