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Nutrition Group: Update on Scottish Government activity

This note provides a concise update on policy developments in Scotland, since the presentation given by Public Heath Scotland. Links to key documents are included should members wish to explore further.

There hasn’t been a great deal of movement in many of the areas. This reflects the change of leadership at the Scottish Government in March this year and a move to improve relations with the business community. However, it is envisaged that there will be renewed engagement with businesses in the coming weeks and months. This is highlighted in the note and members will be kept up to date on developments.

Promotions restrictions

  • In a Ministerial Statement on 30 May 2023, the Minister for Public Health confirmed that the Scottish Government would proceed to consult on the detail of proposed regulations to restrict promotions of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS), with a view to laying regulations subject to the outcome of the consultation.
  • The forthcoming consultation will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the detail of proposed regulations. (Date to be confirmed.)
  • In line with the principles of the New Deal for Business, an extensive programme of engagement will be undertaken as part of the consultation process to ensure everyone has an opportunity to engage and have their voice heard, in order to support the most effective implementation of the policy.

Eating Out Eating Well Framework

  • Public Health Scotland (PHS), in partnership with Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are developing a new Eating Out, Eating Well Framework (EOEW), and children’s menu code of practice (COP). The voluntary framework, and COP, is being developed to support out of home (OOH) businesses to provide and promote healthy food and drink options for their customers. The code of practice for children’s menus will be able to be implemented as a stand along measure if that is what businesses wish to do.
  • The EOEW Framework and COP as outlined in the Diet and healthy weight: Out of Home Action Plan, will support the achievement of the Scottish dietary goals and the aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030.  It will also support the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Good Food Nation ambition and wider food policies on food waste, local sourcing, and climate change.
  • In Autumn 2022, PHS and FSS undertook engagement with the OOH sector. The purpose of these meetings was to provide an overview of the early thinking around development of the EOEW Framework and COP and seek the views of the sector.  This engagement included meeting with UKHospitality Scotland.
  • Following initial engagements with the OOH sector, PHS and FSS established industry working groups with representation from public, private and third sector outlets from the out of home sector. A series of workshops have been held to collaboratively develop the EOEW framework principles and the children’s menus Code of Practice. The members of the groups provided practical advice and constructive feedback on the content and implementation of the framework from a specific out of home business perspective.

Mandatory Calorie Labelling

  • Scottish Government decided to pause before making a final decision on mandating calorie labelling in Out of Home settings.
  • The consultation analysis report was published on 30 May.
  • The reason for the pause is to better understand the lived experiences of people with an eating disorder. Public Health Scotland has commissioned research to explore the behaviours of people with lived experience of eating disorders when eating out of home. The report is due to be published this autumn.
  • The Scottish Government will have further discussions with the hospitality sector before taking a decision to proceed with this measure. This is consistent with the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Business.