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New legislation: Mandatory calorie labelling

In 2018 the UK government consulted on calorie labelling for food and drink served outside of the home, the result of which is that in April 2022 new legislation will take effect, requiring large food businesses to implement mandatory calorie labelling. The government attempted to make calorie labelling voluntary back in 2011, however due to the lack of participation it is now becoming compulsory.

Why is it being introduced?

The purpose of this legislation is to allow consumers to make more informed decisions around the food they eat and encourage businesses to provide lower calorie options for their customers. Many businesses don’t provide basic information about calorie content when eating out, which makes it difficult for consumers to monitor their calorie intake whether that be for health or fitness purposes.

Providing calorie information alongside the recommended intake for consumers eating out can help them make informed choices. In addition, this legislation is being introduced to change our food environment to reduce the increasing levels of childhood obesity in the country. It is worth mentioning that within the regulations, businesses are permitted to provide menus without calorie information at the express request of the customer.

Who does this apply to?

This legislation will be introduced to large businesses (those with 250+ employees) in England, as large businesses account for almost half of the food in the out-of-home food sector, therefore the government anticipate that this new legislation will result in significant health benefits.

Examples of large businesses that will be required to calorie label include restaurants, cafes, takeaways, bakeries, and caterers. Supermarkets and entertainment venues e.g. cinemas, or hotels where they serve food will also need to adhere to the new legislation in scope of the policy, as well as workplaces where the food and drink on sale is provided by a large catering company.

Are small to medium businesses exempt?

Small to medium size businesses may be under the impression they do not have to make any changes, which for the time being is true. However, it is still best practice and encouraged for all businesses to adopt calorie labelling to build trust and transparency with your customers. The government will be reviewing this policy every five years so it’s only a matter of time before more businesses will need to comply with this legislation.

What are out-of-home food providers?

This legislation affects the out-of-home sector in England, which refers to any outlet where food or drink is prepared in a way that means it is ready for immediate consumption by the person who buys it. This includes food franchises, large food outlets, and other examples mentioned above. In addition to this, third party takeaway platforms, irrespective of the size of their business, will be required to display calorie information on food and drink items sold by businesses, whilst the responsibility for calculating calorie content lies with the food provider.

Who is exempt?

Some exemptions to this legislation include institutions for pupils below the age of 18, in-house workplace canteens where the food and drink on sale is solely for the employees of the workplace, and health and social care settings where the food is provided solely for patients or residents.

How can CaterCloud help?

Our CaterCloud system is the leading menu management platform for caterers and is completely free to use. We have a wealth of in-house expert knowledge keeping our users up to date with upcoming legislation and the system is continuously being developed. With the calorie labelling legislation set to be introduced in April 2022, CaterCloud already has the capability to print calorific values on menus due to our planned development, which will ensure our clients remain compliant. Find out more about CaterCloud here.

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Published on January 18th, 2022

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