Willie MacLeod, Executive Director for Scotland at the British Hospitality Association, said:
“The BHA fully supports the Scottish Government’s ambition to combat obesity and our members are committed to making Scotland a Good Food Nation. To engage, businesses need workable, achievable goals and continuity of approach.
“Our industry collectively serves many millions of meals every year to a wide range of consumers in different venues on different occasions. So, by leveraging the industry’s expertise in hotels, restaurants and food service we can contribute to creating a healthier nation. Our members have long been making significant effort to improve the nutrition of products and provide healthier alternative choices for its customers, through reducing salt, sugar and saturated fat in the meals they serve and responding flexibly to customer requirements.
“The BHA is playing a key role in driving best practice across the industry, and earlier this year launched the BHA Industry Nutrition Guide to help chefs and catering managers develop, prepare and promote healthier meals and empower consumers with information. The BHA is in a good position to support the Scottish Government’s proposal to support SME businesses to reformulate their products.
“We believe that ensuring good nutrition and reducing the level of childhood obesity requires a holistic approach, we would like to see industry efforts to tackle childhood obesity complemented by a stronger emphasis on nutrition and physical exercise in the school curriculum and on significantly improved education about food in children and adults alike.
“Mandatory measures and regulations will be an additional legislative burden for businesses. The hospitality industry is already facing a perfect storm due to increased business rates, increased payroll costs and the impact of Brexit. Increasing financial pressure on businesses will see businesses forced to further cut costs, and could see price rises for consumers. We urge the Scottish Government to consult closely with the out of home food industry and gather hard evidence on the potential impact of mandatory menu labelling and controls on portion sizes such as calorie caps.
“The BHA and our members will continue to work closely with FSS and the Scottish Government to develop a comprehensive approach which promotes sensible outcomes for consumers and businesses alike.”