Consumers in Scotland are spending less on drink and more on food in pubs since the smoking ban came into effect on 26 March, according to new research by AC Nielsen. According to AC Nielsen’s latest food sales data, servings of main meals in Scottish pubs have increased by 13.0%, outperforming England and Wales, with an average pub in Scotland now serving 91 more main meals a week than before the ban. However, the findings also show that liquor sales in Scottish pubs only grew by 2.9% during the 18 weeks to 29 July compared to 6.5% in England and Wales. The research also found that Scottish licensees on average served three fewer servings per week during the period compared to food and drinks sales in England, which increased by an average of 54 servings per week for the same period. Eleni Nichols, managing director of AC Nielsen UK & Ireland, said: “Scotland’s slowdown in growth is driven less by soft drinks and alcohol, especially spirits, being purchased, presumably due to the fact that smokers are spending less time in pubs since the ban took effect. “However, families and non-smokers are now far more willing to spend more time and money in pubs over leisurely meals, without the fear of inhaling other people’s smoke.”