Position Statement on improving the healthiness of Scotland’s Out of Home food and drink sector - June 2023

Obesity Action Scotland supports the introduction of various statutory measures to improve the healthiness of food and drink products offered in Scotland’s Out of Home sector (OOH). Such restrictions should be focused on improving the diet and health of the population.

The OOH sector covers all the food and drink eaten outside of the home, and from takeaways consumed inside and outside of the home. Examples of OOH outlets include restaurants, quick service restaurants such as fast food chains or takeaways, pubs, coffee shops, petrol stations, bars, hotels and cinemas.

Evidence shows that OOH options tend to contain higher quantities of salt, sugar, and fat than similar food and drink available in retail outlets such as supermarkets. This is a concern given that, in Scotland, it is estimated 25% of our total calories are consumed OOH.

What measures should be introduced?

In order to be effective, we need a broad range of policies to ensure outlets in our communities offer more healthy options:

  • Regulate to restrict OOH promotions on products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS); and encourage businesses to promote healthy food and drink options instead
  • Regulate or limit access to unhealthy food through improved planning and licensing arrangements for the sector
  • Regulate to control portion sizes, introduce calorie caps, and ensure provision of half size portions
  • A mandatory reformulation programme that reduces calories, sugar and salt while increasing content of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains in recipes and on menus
  • Introduce mandatory nutrition information on menus and online