Mandatory calorie labelling in the out of home sector in Scotland - consultation response

In July 2022, the Scottish Government called for views on their proposals to introduce mandatory calorie labelling at the point of choice in the out of home sector. Thank you to all the members who shared their feedback on these proposals. Below is a short summary, with our full response available to download.

Our response

RCPCH Scotland agreed that mandatory calorie labelling could be a positive step. However, we think the Scottish Government should not only rely on this to make significant changes to obesity rates in Scotland. The evidence on how effective calorie labelling in the out of home sector is still developing. We therefore encouraged the Scottish Government to monitor and review the effectiveness of mandatory calorie labelling in the out of home sector, if implemented, and ensure that education on healthy eating is kept at the core of all policy that aims to reduce obesity.

Promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing people from becoming ill is key to reducing existing and future burden of disease on the NHS and ensuring that everyone can live long and healthy lives.   

Our recommendations

  • We agreed that mandatory calorie labelling should be at included at point of choice, for example menus, menu boards or digital ordering apps in the Out of Home (OOH) sector.   
  • We are supportive of providing parents and carers with calorie information to support them to make more informed decisions on the food provided for their children.  
  • We are aware that calorie information may be distressing or harmful for those suffering with eating disorders and could further fuel unhealthy eating habits. It is for that reason, we advocated for menus without calorie labelling being available on request.
  • RCPCH Scotland members highlighted that the introduction of calorie labelling may also encourage businesses in the OOH sector to reduce the fat and sugar content of meals, to make them healthier overall.
  • We recommended that the Scottish Government work in collaboration with all businesses to ensure that they are adequately supported to adapt to the proposed calorie labelling requirements.
  • To fully maximise the benefits of this proposed policy, we encouraged the Scottish Government to provide better public health information on nutrition and healthy diet. We also encouraged the Government to ensure that the effectiveness of these proposals is monitored and reviewed to measure the effect on children and young people.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting us at: