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Scotland to create first foodservice obesity plan

Scottish ministers are to consult on plans to take action on calorie labelling and portion size in the out of home sector as part of a new approach to tackling obesity.

A consultation document published on Thursday set out the Scottish Government’s intention to produce the country’s first sector specific strategy for out of home food providers by summer 2018.

The strategy will include action on calorie labelling; portion size and calorie cap options; promotions and marketing; advice on healthier processes such as cooking methods and reformulation; and nutritional standards for public sector procurement.

It will be targeted at large and small businesses across the public, private and voluntary sectors with stakeholders able to feed into the strategy as it is developed.

In 2015 alone, there were 948m visits to out of home eating establishments in Scotland – up 3% on the previous year.

Evidence suggests the food and drink provided out of home is skewed towards less healthy options and as such the government believes the out of home sector has the potential to play a significant role in driving improvements to the Scottish diet.

The proposed measures form part of a wider plan to transform the food environment in Scotland and help people lead healthier and more active lives.

The government noted that although some progress has been made through voluntary action, such as front of pack labelling and removal of confectionery from some checkouts, it wanted to enable industry to go further in order to deliver the scale and pace of change needed.

Plans have also been put forward to restrict the promotion of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt, and to further strengthen current restrictions for both broadcast and non-broadcast advertising of unhealthy foods.

The consultation will run until 31 January 2018.