Developing Dietary Guidelines for Scotland

Food Standards Scotland
JRS Research Consortium

Research to establish a digestable way for people to access dietary advice

The Eatwell Guide is a core piece of dietary guidance, used by health and educational practitioners as a way of representing a balanced and nutritionally complete diet for the general public. However, the actual eating habits of many people in Scotland differ significantly from this, which results in increased risk of various preventable diseases or other negative consequences.

JRS was commissioned by Food Standards Scotland to undertake a multi-stage research project to help them develop a set of practical, achievable guidelines based on the Eatwell Guide.  Much like the Guide itself, the key challenge here was about striking a balance between including all the necessary information for consumers but remaining accessible to everyone.

Following a secondary review of literature around dietary advice and the guidelines used by other nations around the world, we ran a series of workshops and interviews with experts: academics, nutritionists and stakeholders from across Scotland’s food system.

Taking the insight from this, we then ran a series of focus groups engaging with the Scottish public. The final result was a set of detailed recommendations which outlined how dietary advice could be presented and packaged in a digestible way that matched ordinary people’s needs.

The results of our work have been used by Food Standards Scotland to underpin their core dietary advice for the general public (such as the interactive Eat Well Your Way resource).