Calorie labelling on restaurant and takeaway menus could become mandatory under the measures being proposed by Scottish ministers, who argue it could help tackle obesity.
Children’s menus could also have to abide by a “code of practice” to ensure healthy food options are available when families eat out.
Scotland’s public health minister Maree Todd said the measures, part of a strategy called the Out of Home Action Plan, aim to “reduce health inequalities and support people to live longer healthier lives”.
Launching a public consultation on the proposals, Ms Todd said: “Obesity continues to be one of the biggest and most complex public health challenges.
“Addressing it remains a priority to create a Scotland where we eat well, have as healthy a weight as we can, and are more physically active.
“We know that by giving people more information, such as the number of calories in meals, empowers people to make healthier decisions when eating out, or ordering in.
“This plan proposes bold measures on how we can work with the food industry to create sustainable change to reduce harm to people’s health caused by poor diet and excess weight.
“It remains an unwelcome reality that communities experience health, quality of life and even life expectancy differently across our society and the current health emergency has further highlighted the damaging impact of inequality.”
Food Standards Scotland chair Ross Finnie said: “The pandemic has added new focus on the need to address the issues around the Scottish diet, with an estimated two-thirds of the population living with overweight or obesity and the costs to the health service of treating the long-term effect of poor diet now estimated to be over £360 million.
“Food Standards Scotland welcomes the news that Scottish Government are making commitments to progress actions with the ‘out of home’ sector, which are essential steps needed to improve the food environment to one that enables healthier choices.
“While we recognise there has been a significant disruption during the pandemic, the rise in takeaway and delivery services means it is critical we work with the sector to take steps that support a healthy diet and healthy weight.”