Supporting Healthy Choices: A Framework for Voluntary Action

This framework sets out the action we believe is necessary to shape and better support healthier diets in Scotland.


Core principles

1. In Scotland we need to inspire healthier diets among our people to help to reduce health inequalities for the country's longer-term economic benefit. Rebalancing our diet, and that of our children, is a responsibility shared between individuals, communities, industry and Government; but changing established habits is neither easy nor quick. Consistent messages and education are crucial, across all life-stages, using a broad range of techniques. The food and drink environment has enormous potential to encourage and influence healthier choices, across the whole food journey from advertising and in-situ marketing to reformulation and provision of healthier products.

This framework is centred on rebalancing the Scottish diet using four core principles, to:

  • put the health of children first in food-related decisions
  • rebalance promotional activities to significantly shift the balance towards healthier choices
  • support consumers and communities with education and information:
    • working in partnership on social marketing campaigns
    • providing nutrition information on labels and calorie labelling on menus
  • formulate healthier products and menus across retail and out of home catering:
    • reformulating existing products over time
    • improving kitchen practice


2. This framework sets out the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSA Scotland) ambition to work collaboratively with partners to improve Scotland's diet and tackle health inequalities. Partners include the Scottish Government, the FSA Scotland, the food and drink industry, including retailers, manufacturers and out of home catering businesses, the NHS and local authorities, as well as consumers.

3. We invite all partners to work with us by implementing a range of voluntary commitments which reflect the action we believe is necessary to rebalance diets in Scotland.


4. This framework is consistent with our ambition across Scottish Government to support healthier diets whilst promoting sustainable economic growth across Scotland's food and drink sector. The framework is underpinned by The National Food and Drink Policy, Recipe for Success[1] and the Preventing Overweight and Obesity Route Map[2] which remain active. The action set out in this framework develops some of their health and 'energy intake' principles. A consultation on the next stage of the national food and drink policy, Becoming a Good Food Nation[3], has now been launched and health remains a key focus. The Scottish Dietary Goals, revised in 2013, which are set out at Annex A, provide the foundation for diet and health policy in Scotland and set out the key outcomes we need to achieve for the Scottish population.


5. Scotland benefits from the Responsibility Deal, but our poor dietary status warrants further action. Moving towards the Scottish Dietary Goals requires long-term, sustained action from Government, the NHS, the food and drink industry and other partners, as well as consumers, in terms of ongoing behaviour change. Many partners have already made substantive contributions towards healthier sales; we intend to build on these efforts whilst encouraging others to make similar progress.

Healthy lifestyles

6. This framework intentionally focuses on diet and action to support healthier food choices. However, we recognise that alongside a healthy balanced diet, physical activity is also essential to maintain good health and a healthy weight. We are aware that partners are involved in a range of initiatives across Scotland to encourage adults and children to be more physically active and lead healthier lifestyles. We welcome this activity and encourage partners to look for opportunities to build on and extend this work to also support healthier food choices and diets.


7. Scotland's fantastic natural larder places within our grasp the means to achieve a healthy and environmentally sustainable diet for all. But only with a healthy workforce, both present and future, can our country become truly sustainable economically and realise our full growth potential.


8. Barriers continue to exist which prevent some individuals from accessing a healthy diet. We will continue to work with partners, including the food and drink industry as well as the third sector, to address those barriers and ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to access a healthy, affordable diet for both themselves and their families.


9. This framework is available on the Scottish Government website[4] so that it can be seen and accessed by all partners, regardless of size or location. We will use a range of media to communicate proactively all updates and progress on the framework. Celebrating the successes of all participating partners will be a key part of our communications strategy.


Email: Leigh Edwardson

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