UKHospitality says proposed mandatory menu calorie labelling would represent burden for restaurants

The Department of Health and Social Care has asserted that it will move forward on introducing mandatory calorie labels on restaurant, café and takeaway menus to give consumers a clear choice about what they and their families eat, but UKHospitality has voiced concerns about the proposal stating that it would represent a significant burden for businesses, especially small outlets.

The proposal is party of the government’s plans to reduce child obesity, but retailers are voicing their concerns as it would present obstacles for the industry and could be complex to initiate.

UKHospitality’s CEO, Kate Nichols said, “The out-of-home sector supports workable efforts to promote healthier eating habits, as demonstrated by the proactive actions already in reformulating menus to reduce calories and increase transparency and choice for customers. However, the introduction of mandatory menu calorie labelling would represent a significant burden for businesses, particularly smaller operators.

“Many venues already choose to show calorie content on their menus, with many high street brands giving customers an unprecedented level of information but the reality is that smaller businesses will struggle to do so. It would impose a serious additional cost for many businesses facing tightening margins, increased operating costs and wider economic instability.”

UKHospitality also said that mandatory calorie labelling would hinder establishments from incorporating seasonal food on menus and special dishes to attract customers because of the extra cost involved.

Mrs Nichols added, “Furthermore, calorie labelling would largely fall outside of the government’s targeting of obesity among lower income children, as obesity in that demographic is less likely to be caused by dining in restaurants.”

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