Nutrition Research

Food Standards Scotland undertakes a robust programme of research to understand why people make certain food choices and whether there is progress being made towards improving diet and nutrition in Scotland.

Recently commissoned reports include:

Identifying and Understanding Those Factors that can Transform the Retail Environment to Enable Healthier Purchasing by Consumers

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has commissioned a project to look at the food and drink retail environment in Scotland. The University of Stirling has been contracted to conduct a review to provide an assessment of the current evidence base on retailing. The project aims to provide FSS with an overview of how food and drink retailing currently works in Scotland and identify factors that influence consumer purchasing such as product placement, advertising and promotions. The final report will include recommendations of how the retail environment could be changed to make it easier for consumers to make healthier choices.

The project began at the end of August 2016 and is due to be published in February 2017.

Recently published reports include:

 An overview of the out of home market in Scotland : This report published in October 2016 provides evidence on the out of home food and drink market in Scotland, including an assessment of how this environment has changed since 2012, as well as foods and drinks most frequently consumed and motivations when eating out.

INTAKE24 is an online 24hr dietary tool developed by Newcastle University and commissioned by Food Standards Scotland. The report presents methodological findings from a field test conducted between June and August 2015 which assessed the feasibility of using INTAKE24 to measure dietary intake in the Scottish Population.

An Offical Statistics Publication for Scotland - National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Assesment of dietary sodium

(Adults 19 to 64 years) in Scotland 2014: As part of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme, adults aged 19 to 64 years in Scotland took part in the survey by providing a 24-hour urine collection. The adults were  selected to be representative of the population and the analysis was based on 663 samples. Urine samples were collected over five months (May to September) in 2014, running concurrently with a survey in England.

Foods and drinks purchased into the home in Scotland, using data from Kantar WorldPanel: This report published on 20th January 2016 provides evidence on purchasing trends and price promotions between 2010 and 2015, including seasonal differences, with a particular focus on discretionary foods and drinks, such as cakes, pastries, biscuits, confectionery, crisps and sugary drinks.

The Situation Report: The Scottish Diet: It needs to change published in December 2015, summarises existing dietary data and health statistics for Scotland using info-graphics to provide information for policy makers, and stakeholders including the food and drink industry, health professionals and consumers. The report highlights the scale of the challenge and the need for dietary intakes to change if Scotland is to become a more healthy and successful nation.

A survey published in November 2015 on Attitudes to Diet and Health in Scotland 2015 complements our on-going dietary monitoring and surveillance work by providing contextual information on consumer understanding of a healthy diet, and why it is difficult to change.

Our most recent work on monitoring progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals:

Estimation of Food and Nutrient intakes from Living Costs and Food Survey data in Scotland 2001 to 2013 - Scottish Dietary Goal Foods and Nutrients (interim report)

This work was commissioned to monitor progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals using data from the Living Costs and Food Survey (external link). This work is part of a rolling programme to update annual trends in food consumption and nutrient intakes. The purpose of this report is to add an additional year’s data for 2013 to the estimated food and nutrient intakes presented in the full report published in May 2015 for 2001 to 2012. These additional results are provisional and will not be finalised until a full update is published in September 2017. The findings are similar to the previous report showing little improvement in the Scottish diet over the period 2001 to 2013.

Latest estimation of Food and Nutrient intakes (interim report)

Estimation of Food and Nutrient intakes from food purchase data in Scotland 2001 to 2012 

Contribution of foods to intakes of energy and selected nutrients using food purchase data in Scotland 2001 to 2012

This additional report also using data from the Living Costs and Food Survey was commissioned to explore which foods and drinks are the main contributors to intakes of energy, fat, saturated fat, added sugars and fibre in the Scottish diet.

Latest report on contribution of foods to energy and other nutrient intakes

You can search or browse all of our published nutrition research.

Our current nutrition research projects:

Monitoring the Scottish Diet

What we eat

2014 Urinary Sodium Survey for Scotland

This urinary sodium survey will provide data to establish progress towards meeting the Scottish Dietary Goal to reduce the average population salt intake in Scotland to 6g per day. In 2009 dietary intakes of salt in Scotland were 8.8g/day; this new survey will measure whether there has been any reduction in salt intakes between 2009 and 2014. Publication expected summer 2015.

What we buy

Monitoring food, drink and nutrients purchased into the home in Scotland

The Supporting Healthy Choices (SHC) framework (published in June 2014) sets out the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Scotland ambition to work collaboratively with partners to improve Scotland’s diet and tackle health inequalities. This project analyses food and drink purchased into the home to evaluate progress on reformulation of a range of manufactured products (detailed in SHC). Data on food and drink purchase and associated nutrients along with data on promotions is provided annually by Kantar Worldpanel.

 Diet Research

Dietary research

Field testing of the use of INTAKE24 in a sample of young people and adults living in Scotland

INTAKE24 is an on line 24hr dietary recall programme that has been developed by Food Standards Scotland for monitoring intakes of 11-24 year old. This project will field test how well the programme performs in both young people (11+) and in the adult population 18+ in a sample of Scottish Health survey participants. The study will be designed so that survey participants can feedback any issues relating to use of the online recall and modifications and improvements will be made to the INTAKE24 system. The project will also assess the number of participants that require additional support to use the tool.

Related Publications/Resources