Scottish food businesses urged to provide calorie information

Scottish ‘out of home’ food businesses – including takeaways restaurants and cafes - are being urged to put a stronger focus on calorific content as the industry recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The call comes as latest findings highlight how almost everyone in Scotland last year (98%) was now eating out of their homes at some time.

They also show a 31% surge in the value of takeaways and home deliveries bought compared with 2019, despite overall contraction of the out of home market sector. A trend that has accelerated and is expected to continue beyond the pandemic.  

Scotland also saw a huge rise in ordering takeaways from restaurant apps and other third-party apps (such as Just Eat) in 2020, compared to 2019. There was also huge increase of new consumers using delivery services in Scotland in 2020 compared to 2019 with an increase of 54%.

separate study of larger branded food businesses also found only just over half showed any nutrition and calorie information on their online offerings. Without transparency, consumers cannot make informed choices and that needs to change.

A third of main meals had a calorific value (kcals) of above 1,000; some burgers being sold by one provider were loaded with 2,580 kcals; some salads had up to 1,380; and the average portion of chips had 434 kcals, rising to 670 with toppings. Guideline daily amounts are 2500 kcals for men and 2000 kcals for women.

Both sets of findings are published by Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and support the Scottish Government’s ‘Out of Home Action (OOH) Plan which includes a commitment to a consultation on mandatory calorie labelling and the development of a code of practice for children’s menus.

FSS’s free-to-use MenuCal online tool can help food businesses provide calorie and allergen information to customers, including calculating the calories of anything they produce.


REHIS is a registered charity in Scotland, SC009406

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