Out of Home Calorie Labelling and Children’s Menu Research with those Experiencing Socioeconomic Disadvantage

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Food Standards Scotland (FSS) commissioned Jump/RedTree/SMG research consortium to conduct qualitative research with consumers experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage.  This sought to explore their views on calorie labelling when eating out of home (OOH), calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks, and the development of a code of practice for children’s menus.

This research was commissioned to support the actions within the Scottish Government Out of Home Action Plan.  The key findings of the report include:

  • Respondents eat OOH approximately 28 times per month. Regularity of eating OOH varied by life stage, with under 30 year old adults with no children at home eating OOH approximately 36 times per month on average, and over 50 year olds with no children at home eating out approximately 16 times per month on average.
  • Respondents generally supported calorie labelling and felt it may motivate OOH businesses to innovate and take responsibility for the calories they sell. It was felt that there is potential for the policy to impact and change behaviour.
  • Respondents had concerns about the impact of the policy on the most socioeconomically disadvantaged parts of the population living in Scotland. This included potential cost increases and misunderstanding of calorie information.
  • Respondents were doubtful providing calorie information on alcoholic drinks served OOH would have any meaningful impact and there would be practical difficulties in implementing this.
  • Respondents with children were widely critical of typical children’s menus on the basis that they have limited choice, too many fried foods and not enough healthy options.
  • Respondents with children were widely supportive of the idea of a code of practice being introduced for children’s menus. This could have the potential to support parents and encourage more healthy eating amongst children when eating OOH.