Food Standards Scotland seeks views on making food eaten outside the home healthier

  • FSS launches consultation on proposals to improve food eaten outside of the home in Scotland.
  • Foods eaten outside of home are skewed towards less healthy options, which are often high in calories.
  • Proposed measures focus on calorie reduction across the sector with the aim of maintaining choice and availability of favourite foods.
  • Proposals include smaller portion sizes, an increase in fruit and vegetables, provision of calorie and nutrition information for consumers, shifting the focus of deals and promotions from unhealthy to healthier options and the role of the public sector as the exemplar.
  • There is public demand for change: 68% of people in Scotland believe cafés and restaurants should display calories on menus and 82% support greater availability of smaller and half portions of standard-sized menu items.
  • The consultation invites views on the impacts of the proposals for the people of Scotland.
  • The consultation responses will be used to provide recommendations to Ministers for an Out of Home strategy for Scotland.

 

Food Standards Scotland is inviting views from the public, the out of home food sector and all interested organisations on proposals to give the people of Scotland healthier options when they’re eating out.

The consultation, published today (22 November 2018), will be open for responses until 29 February 2019.

Improving the Scottish diet and helping Scotland become a healthier nation is a key priority for Food Standards Scotland. These proposals are aimed at promoting changes towards healthier versions of our favourite foods. They also promote the consumer’s right to information about the food they buy, as well as proposing improvements to food aimed at children and young people when eating out.

Many out of home options are skewed towards less healthy choices and large portion sizes, excess calories, added sugars and lack of fruit and vegetables can all cause us to eat more calories than we realise or intend. A recent Food Standards Scotland Food in Scotland consumer tracking survey shows strong public support for measures, such as displaying calories on menus (68%) and increased availability of smaller and half portions of standard-sized menu items (82%).

Ross Finnie, Chair of Food Standards Scotland said:

“We recognise the out of home sector makes an important contribution to the Scottish economy, but it doesn’t always support a healthy diet.  Our proposals aim to shift the food choices available when we’re eating out towards those that are healthier and have lower calories. We welcome suggestions on how businesses could lead the way to make the necessary changes.

“There is a real opportunity for the public sector in Scotland to set the standard for healthy eating out of home, by implementing measures now such as clear calorie labelling, cutting down on calories and reducing portion sizes.

“We cannot afford to be either too slow or too cautious in implementing change. The impact of Scotland’s obesity crisis is not only on the nation’s economy and productivity, but also on individuals and their families. We owe it to the younger generation to provide access to healthier options when eating out and shift the focus away from unhealthy, high calorie foods, without losing the enjoyment that comes with eating out.”

Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick said:

“Food Standards Scotland are exploring potential measures for changing the out of home sector. We are looking forward to engaging with all parties in this to improve the food and drink available outside the home and ensuring the changes made will be reasonable and proportionate.

“Through our Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, we are taking decisive action to deliver positive outcomes by helping to reduce serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease, which are commonly caused by eating a poor diet.”

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