News & Updates

Food Standards Scotland update on the food and drink environment

Food Standards Scotland’s updated Situation Report – The Scottish Diet: It Needs to Change 2020 highlights the ongoing challenge for people in Scotland to have a healthier diet, including new exploration of the out of home environment, such as food bought ‘on the go’, and from deliveries and takeaways.

It is important to note that this data was captured prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore provides a baseline for further investigation on its impact on diet in Scotland.

The report shows that:

  • There continues to be a lack of progress towards the Scottish dietary goals and improving obesity and diet related poor health
  • Two out of three people in Scotland remain either overweight or obese, with a higher proportion of people living with obesity in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived
  • We continue to buy a lot of discretionary foods and drinks, such as confectionery, cakes, biscuits, pastries, savoury snacks and sugary drinks from shops and supermarkets, and these tend to be heavily promoted
  • The food and drink we purchase from the out of home environment tend to be less healthy, with fried chicken and burger meals and sides among the top takeaway meals and dishes
  • People in Scotland support the food environment providing healthier food to make it easier to choose a healthier diet

FSS Chief Executive, Geoff Ogle, said:

“Our continued poor diet is a concern which has only been exacerbated by the fact that overweight and obesity is a contributory factor to a person’s ability to deal with the health consequences of COVID-19.  Food Standards Scotland will monitor purchase and consumption habits in Scotland to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the Scottish diet.

“The good news is that there is acceptance of the need for change, with 91% saying they think cheap, fast food is too readily available and 78% of people think children’s menus should offer more healthy choices.

“As we move through the pandemic, it is going to be really important to assess what we can all do to improve our diet and sustain that improvement going forward. Reducing levels of overweight and obesity is a shared responsibility and

Food Standards Scotland will continue to play its part to ensure people in Scotland have healthier diets.”

As well as changes to the food environment, including fewer discretionary foods and more fruit, veg and fibre options, a key step to improving our diet is to cut down on discretionary products by at least half. In a pandemic this might be more of a challenge, however we know that being overweight or obese can impact our ability to deal with COVID-19.”

More on this topic


The Scottish Diet - It needs to change 2020 update

This update to the Situation Report on the Scottish Diet continues to highlight the ongoing challenge to improve the Scottish diet, including new sections exploring the out of home environment. It is important to note that the data included covers a period


The Out of Home Environment in Scotland (2019)

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