New rules requiring the display of calories on menus and food labels came into force. It was found that a quarter of an average person’s calorie intake comes from food eaten outside of groceries. This summer, it will now be mandatory for large businesses to show calorie information on menus and food packaging. That includes […]
New rules requiring the display of calories on menus and food labels came into force. It was found that a quarter of an average person’s calorie intake comes from food eaten outside of groceries.
This summer, it will now be mandatory for large businesses to show calorie information on menus and food packaging. That includes restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes, pubs, supermarkets, home delivery services, and third-party apps. In addition, customers can find the calorie information for food and soft drinks on the signage at the point where customers are making their food and drink choices.
After a recent estimate found that being overweight or obese costs the UK £6 billion, the Council of the European Union has ruled on this topic. The new initiative is to help fund healthcare in European countries. Unfortunately, around two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese (63%), and 40% of children leave primary school overweight or obese. Countries across Europe could greatly benefit from the funds raised by this project, mainly because Obesity is a significant cause of cancer and other ailments.
According to Maggie Throup, the Secretary of State for Health: “We all must have access to the information we need to maintain a healthier weight. This starts with knowing how calorific our food is. We know this when shopping in the supermarket, but this isn’t the case when we eat out or get a takeaway.
“As part of our efforts to tackle disparities and level up the nation’s health, these measures are an important building block to making it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices.”
Eating out and takeaways have become a popular option for working professionals. However, the portions of food people eat are often twice as big, making these meals feel like less of a timesaver. Labelling for calories is also limited in restaurants, meaning customers may not know what they’re ordering.
Recent data shows that in 2019/20, there were over one million hospital admissions where Obesity was the primary or secondary cause, an increase of 17% on 2018/19 when there were 876,000 obesity-related admissions.
In a survey by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities on calorie reduction, 79% of respondents said they think menus should include the number of calories in food and drinks.
Bridget Turner, director of policy, campaigns and improvement at Diabetes UK, said: “Obesity is the single most significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. There are an estimated 13.6 million people at increased risk of developing the condition in the UK.
“Tackling this health crisis is vital. The government’s commitment to making significant takeaway and restaurant chains calorie label the food they sell is a welcome move towards reducing the rising levels of Obesity in the UK.
“Diabetes UK campaigned strongly for these measures through our Food Upfront campaign. We hope these businesses will be in line with the food retail sector to give people clear calorie information for the food they buy, hopefully leading to improved menus and healthier options.”
The Department of Health and Social Care will enforce the legislation through local authorities, who will have to carry it out.
Officials have been encouraged to have conversations with those businesses that do not comply with the law first, allowing for a more positive outcome.
Those in violation of improvement notices are subject to punishment and fines. The most common penalty is a £2,500 penalty.