Eating Out, Changing the Game

As trends shift and lifestyles evolve, we are increasingly becoming a nation of people who consume food prepared out of home (OOH). This may be in a sit-in restaurant, a drive-through burger bar, a fast-food takeaway, a sandwich shop, a coffee shop or delivered.

In the last 10 years there has been a 53% increase in places to eat out of home and in 2015 alone there were 948 million visits to out of home establishments in Scotland – up 3% on the previous year.

Across the UK we eat between 20-25% of our total calories out of home and adults who eat takeaway meals at home at least once per week consume 63 to 87 kcal more per day. In children, a weekly consumption of takeaway food was associated with consuming 55-168 kcal more per day.

As the tendency to eat out of home becomes the norm, we need to change the rules on OOH as it is a potential game changer in our collective efforts to reduce obesity levels across Scotland.

 

Changing the Rules, Changing the Game

The OOH sector could do more to create a healthier, less obesogenic way of providing good and affordable food, as well as treats and an occasional indulgence. There are a number of ways the OOH sector can become healthier than it currently is, while continuing to do what it does best – offering tasty food with convenience.

We are expecting a consultation from Food Standards Scotland in autumn 2018 on an Out of Home Strategy. Here are the actions Obesity Action Scotland believes are needed in the out of home sector:

  • Regulate to control portion sizes and introduce mandatory calorie caps. Provide more half-size portions
  • Reduce calories, sugar and salt; and increase content of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain in recipes
  • Regulate to restrict promotions on products high in fat, sugar and salt; and encourage businesses to promote healthy food and drink choices
  • Introduce mandatory calorie information on menus
  • Regulate or limit access to unhealthy food through improved planning and licensing arrangements
  • Acknowledge young people’s social needs and preferences by engaging them in making decisions on improving the food environment in schools

 

Out of Home Briefing

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Chips To Go - Factsheet

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Eating Out, Changing the Game

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