Scotland’s food watchdog is calling for independent restaurants, convenience stores and cafes to reduce portion sizes, increase the number of healthy options on menus and label calorie content on their products, in a bid to improve the nation’s diet.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) said in a set of recommendations agreed by its board that there should be more regulation of the promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks, such as those laden with sugar and salt.
The report comes as FSS warned that 40 per cent of Scots could be obese by 2030 if the nation’s current habits continue. It plans to work with individual small businesses, as well as local authorities, to encourage food providers to sign up to a pledge to improve the nutritional value of food eaten on the go - and display calorie counts of individual products.
Ross Finnie, chairman of FSS, pointed to the availability of mainly sugary baked goods and snacks on offer in convenience stores at places such as train stations.
He said: “It just isn’t helping the Scottish diet. I am not wanting to close down any businesses, we are just trying to get them to purchase products that are more nutritious and have much lower sugar content.”
He added that many people do not include snacks - or lunches eaten when out and about - when they consider whether or not they eat healthily.
Nutritionist Jenny Rosborough, campaign manager at Action on Sugar said: “We are fully supportive of FSS recommendations to help reduce the high levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay, all of which are preventable and costs NHS Scotland each year. We now strongly urge all manufacturers and companies to comply.”
The cost of obesity to the Scottish economy is estimated at £2.37bn per year.