he Hospitality sector is asking for government help over planned laws demanding calorie counts on menus.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, has said, “The last thing the sector needs after prolonged periods of closure and trading restrictions is unnecessary red tape.
“The majority of operators are in survival mode and their recovery will take many, many months, so creating additional burdens is hugely unhelpful.
“Hospitality businesses share the government’s objectives in tackling obesity and improving public health, but at a time of huge economic uncertainty these new rules must strike a balance and be proportionate.
“Layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic risks prolonging their recovery and business’ ability to invest and create jobs.
“We urge the government to consult meaningfully with the sector via the new Office for Health Promotion on any measures that are included in the Bill.”
Under the new laws large businesses will have to display calorie information on menus and food labels from April 2022.
“Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight”
Businesses with 250 or more employees in England, including cafes, restaurants and takeaways, will have to display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drink items that are prepared for customers.
The measures are designed to help people make healthier choices when it comes to eating food out or ordering takeaways.
The government says Covid-19 has highlighted the impact that obesity can have on people’s health and health outcomes.
It estimates that overweight and obesity related conditions across the UK cost the NHS £6.1 billion each year. Almost two-thirds, 63 per cent, of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and one in three children leave primary school overweight or obese.
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said, “We want to make sure everyone has access to accurate information about the food and drink we order.
“These measures form an important building block in our strategy to support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.”
In a Public Health England survey on calorie reduction, 79 per cent of respondents said they think that menus should include the number of calories in food and drinks.