The Scottish Government has launched a consultation to find out if diners want calories to be added to menus when they’re eating out.
Plans to introduce mandatory calorie labelling across the hospitality sector are being considered in an effort to let customers make healthy choices.
The venture forms part of a Scottish wide initiative to tackle obesity in Scotland.
Around two thirds of Scotland’s population is currently overweight or obese.
But while the proposals have been welcomed by some, who feel it will enable customers to make informed decisions about what they’re eating, others worry about the negative impact it could have among those with eating disorders.
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Tackling obesity in Scotland
Public Health Minister Maree Todd said she hopes providing more information to diners will help them make “healthier” choices.
“Before the pandemic, people living in Scotland were consuming more and more food and drink out of home or ordering it in,” she said.
“Two thirds of the population living in Scotland is recorded as living with overweight or obesity – a key factor in our plan to address this is calorie labelling.
“We know that giving people more information, such as the number of calories in meals will enable people to make healthier choices when eating out, or ordering in.”
The three-month consultation will set out the broad types of food and drink which would be covered by the laws and how this would apply to various businesses.
These range from food and hospitality businesses; public sector institutions such as hospitals and prisons; pre-packed food such as filled sandwiches; online takeaways and children’s menus.
It is part of an ongoing initiative to improve the country’s diet and halve childhood obesity by 2030.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) head of nutrition science and policy Dr Gillian Purdon said: “FSS has long proposed the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling as part of a suite of recommendations to address the nation’s poor diet.
“With eating out is now an everyday occurrence and nearly a quarter of our calories coming from food and drink purchased outside of home, mandatory calorie labelling is one way to support people to make healthier options.”