Educating chefs in healthier food is the best way to help Scots make better health choices, a roundtable hosted by foodservice firm Unilever Food Solutions has suggested.
The discussion also comes in light of the company's Scottish launch of the Unilever Food Solutions Health and Nutrition training programme, which is designed for catering and hospitality students and professional chefs.
Developed in association with training company People 1st, the course will explore how to produce healthy, tasty meals at a reasonable price point.
As part of its focus on health, Unilever hosted the roundtable discussion at Perth College, inviting a team of Scottish stakeholders (including delegates from NHS Scotland, the Institute of Hospitality, the British Hospitality Association and the Food Standards Agency) to debate how chefs can play a role in improving Scotland's diet.
It was agreed that more could be done to showcase the quality of Scottish produce, food and quality foodservice businesses, while also countering the country's increasing obesity levels.
The company's own survey also recently found that 95% of catering college lecturers said they thought chefs had a role to play in improving the nation's health, while 93% agreed that eating out will become more focused on health and nutrition in future.
Similarly, the study suggested that consumers often snub healthier choices on a menu as they believe that they will not taste good, will be too expensive, and will not fill them up.
The roundtable also comes ahead of the soon-to-be-introduced Supporting Healthy Choices Framework, which sets out voluntary guidelines to help caterers and food retailers provide healthier options, and the growing adoption of the Scottish Healthy Living Award, which recognises businesses working towards a healthier choice.
The award has already been issued to 1,900 catering outlets, with all outlets being encouraged to achieve the Healthy Living Plus Award by the end of the year.