Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has today (Wednesday 8 March) announced additional recommendations aimed at improving the Scottish diet, just over a year on from first setting out its ambition for change with a robust set of measures.
At the heart of these new recommendations lies the call for regulation of the food environment and an overarching strategy to make food eaten outside of the home more healthy. This includes calls for an increase in healthier options, calorie labelling on menus, reductions in portion sizes and regulation of the promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks.
The recommendations include a recognition of the need for support and assistance for small-to-medium sized food businesses and a call for industry to move forwards urgently.
The proposals come against a backdrop of increasing awareness of Scotland’s poor diet and the potential health consequences it brings, with 61% of Scots saying they know they need to do something to eat more healthily – up by 10% in a year.
Chair of FSS, Ross Finnie, said: “There has been some concrete progress over the past year from Food Standards Scotland, government and industry to address the deep-seated problems with Scotland’s diet and there have been some positive steps in the right direction. However, given we’ve been missing our dietary goals in Scotland since these were first set more than 20 years ago, it’s clear that moves towards improving Scotland’s diet need to be more rapid, more robust and more effective.
“The food environment outside of the home has a vital role to play in helping people in Scotland have access to the information and options they need to make healthier choices, and Food Standards Scotland has today proposed an additional set of recommendations designed to deliver just that.
“The cost of obesity to the Scottish economy is estimated at £2.37bn per year. Food Standards Scotland will continue to work with our partners to drive progress in all sectors, including out of home. In our view, regulation would create a level playing field for industry, and without it, we face the very real prospect of increasing diet-related ill health and unsustainable burdens on the NHS and our economy.”