REQUIREMENTS for licensed premises to provide calorie information to customers, use healthier ingredients and offer smaller portion sizes are among the proposals put forward in a new consultation from Food Standards Scotland.
The public sector body, which advises the Scottish Government on food policy, is developing an Out of Home Strategy with the aim of reducing the calories Scottish people consume when eating out of the home.
The consultation document proposes that the new strategy would apply to pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels as well as takeaways, cafés and shops.
Food Standards Scotland claims the public is in support of changes. Figures released by the agency stated 68% of people in Scotland believe cafés and restaurants should display calories on menus, with 82% supporting greater availability of smaller and half portions of dishes from the menu.
The results of the consultation, which runs until February 28, will be used to make recommendations to Scottish ministers.
Food Standards Scotland chair, Ross Finnie, said: “We recognise the out of home sector makes an important contribution to the Scottish economy, but it doesn’t always support a healthy diet.
“Our proposals aim to shift the food choices available when we’re eating out towards those that are healthier and have lower calories.
“We welcome suggestions on how businesses could lead the way to make the necessary changes.”
Public health minister Joe Fitzpatrick added: “Food Standards Scotland are exploring potential measures for changing the out of home sector.
“We are looking forward to engaging with all parties in this to improve the food and drink available outside the home and ensuring the changes made will be reasonable and proportionate.”
This is not the first time Food Standards Scotland has suggested businesses should print calorie information on menus.
The agency included the recommendation in a report it published earlier this year.
At that time the idea was slammed by restaurateurs and trade groups.
Ryan James of the Glasgow Restaurant Association, and owner of the Two Fat Ladies restaurants, described it as “the nanny state gone nuts” and said it would lead to increased costs for operators.
The consultation can be found on the Food Standards Scotland site at foodstandards.gov.scot