Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) is undertaking an initiative to display calorie information on menus as the kingdom seeks to tackle high rates of obesity.
The first phase of the plan will make listing calorie information optional for restaurants and cafes
From the last quarter of 2018 it will then become mandatory to include the information on menus, according to Saudi Gazette.
Restaurants and cafes that respond to the initiative in the first phase will be mentioned on a special page on the authority’s website.
When listing does become mandatory the SFDA will outline the criteria for food and drinks items to be displayed on the menu.
The authority is conducting workshops to increase awareness of the plan and give consumers tips for reducing their calorie intake.
Food and beverage venues will be given a grace period to comply with the bylaw, according to the publication.
The plans come as the kingdom continues to tackle high rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases related to a lack of physical activity and unhealthy diets.
Last year, British medical journal The Lancet ranked the kingdom as the third worst in the world for obesity and laziness behind Malta and Swaziland.
Another recent study suggested 70 per cent of the population was overweight or obese and the kingdom was ranked the world’s least active country in a July report by researchers at US-based Stanford University