null Skip to main content
​Calorie Count Concerns: A Scottish Report's Warning

​Calorie Count Concerns: A Scottish Report's Warning

Posted by Emma on 4th Apr 2024

Public Health Scotland has cautioned Scottish hospitality businesses about displaying calorie counts on their menus. This warning stems from a report titled "Exploring the Perspectives of People with Lived Experience of Eating Disorders when Eating Out of Home," released earlier this week. The report emerges amidst a public consultation initiated by the Scottish government in spring 2022, considering the mandate of calorie labelling in the hospitality sector.

This potential legislation follows England's move on 6 April 2022, which mandated calorie information on menus for hospitality businesses with over 250 employees. However, Public Health Scotland's research, conducted in partnership with local eating disorder charities and individuals with first-hand experience of various eating disorders, presents a stark contrast. The study highlights significant concerns, revealing that the perceived benefits of reducing obesity through mandatory calorie labelling may not justify the risks it poses to individuals with eating disorders, particularly without their explicit request for such information. The triggering potential of calorie details for those recovering from eating disorders was a key concern, leading to suggestions for alternative methods of providing calorie information, such as upon request or through QR codes.

Leon Thompson, the executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, praised the research for its focus on the impact of calorie labelling on individuals with eating disorders. He underscored the therapeutic role of hospitality in aiding recovery through enjoyable dining experiences and social interaction. Thompson advocated for recognising these benefits in legislative discussions and expressed eagerness to engage with the Scottish government to reconsider the proposed policy.

We invite our readers to share their thoughts and experiences regarding calorie labelling in the hospitality industry. Do you believe the benefits outweigh the risks, or do you see merit in Public Health Scotland's concerns?