Are you ready for the Calorie Labelling Legislation coming into force this April?

In the UK, eating out accounts for 20-25% of an adult’s energy intake. Whilst we all enjoy a meal out with friends or a takeaway on a Friday night, the government is bringing a Calorie Labelling Legislation into action to encourage a healthy eating environment.

Is your food business ready? If you employ 250 staff or more, you need to prepare to make some changes. With the Calorie Labelling Legislation set to roll out to smaller businesses in the future, there’s no better time to get ahead of the curve.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve covered everything you need to know about the new Calorie Labelling Legislation and how best to prepare for the upcoming changes.

What is the Calorie Labelling Legislation?

From April 6th 2022, food businesses must clearly display the calorie and energy content of items on their menus and food labels.

In a bid to better the nation’s health, tackle obesity, and encourage consumers to make more informed food decisions, the government is introducing the new requirement affecting businesses with over 250 employees. This includes cafes, restaurants and takeaways, food delivery companies, franchises and catering businesses.

However, once this legislation comes into force, it will only be a matter of time before smaller businesses are affected by these changes. So ask yourself, are you a new or small business? Are you aware of the calories in the food you’re offering?

Why is it being introduced now?

With the Calorie Labelling Legislation circling for over a year in Parliament, the new legislation is finally coming into effect as part of the government’s wider plan to tackle obesity.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, concerns surrounding health and wellbeing are at the forefront of national discussion. The detrimental impact obesity can have on an individual’s health has been put under the microscope and statistics highlight that almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are living with obesity or are overweight. With reports showing that this excess weight can put individuals at greater risk of contracting and becoming seriously unwell with Covid-19 and other illnesses, the government is taking action.

Particularly with the NHS being under a severe amount of stress the past two years, it is now estimated that obesity-related conditions across the UK cost the NHS a staggering £6.1 billion each year.

With this in mind, the new mandatory requirement is a step in the right direction to prevent obesity in the UK.

Why should food businesses display calories? 

Although this will become the new norm for many food businesses, it is becoming evident that more customers are looking for this dietary information, with 60% of adults saying they would be more inclined to eat at an establishment that had calorie labelling on its menus. 

Not only does this make it easier for customers who wish to keep track of how many calories they consume, but it also gives them the ability to compare menu choices to make a better informed decision.

With the pandemic highlighting the importance of protecting our health, it’s critical that food brands use the opportunity provided by the new legislation to implement transparent and nutritional labelling across menus, websites and apps, making the nation’s health a priority.

By providing access to accurate energy information, it’s simpler for people to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families at restaurants and at home.

What will the law require food businesses to do? 

So now you know the changes coming into play, where does this leave your business?

There are a specific set of regulations to conform to when labelling calorie content on menus and food labels, these are:

1) A single portion of the food should have the energy content listed in a way that is easily identified, clearly legible, and in a notable font and format, followed by the letters ‘kcal’.

2) The size of the portion to which the information relates to should be included for clarity.

3) A statement should appear on the menu reading, ‘adults need around 2000 kcal a day’.

Not only does this apply to physical menus, but the legislation is required on third party delivery service apps, websites, and digital menu formats. For orders made out of house, such as over the phone, calorie information must be made available to the customer.

So, how can you prepare for the changes? 

To best prepare your business for the big changes coming into effect, whether you’re well-established with 250 employees or not, be sure to address these factors and get ahead of the curve:

Update all relevant menu formats – It’s not just about your physical menus, don’t forget about the calorie labelling on your online and takeaway menus, and even promotional leaflets that may feature the menu – leave no stone unturned.

Ensure you hold correct information – With  calorie labelling focused on single food items, it’s crucial to trace your food back to your suppliers and ensure the calorie values for these specific ingredients is accurate before displaying it on your menus.

Inform delivery partners – How will you ensure that they have the information they need to present the relevant energy content at the point of order? Make sure to cover all of your bases so your business is well-prepared.

Train your staff – With the new guidelines, it’s imperative to train your employees, emphasising the importance of the new system and the potential consequences of not doing so. Enforcement Officers have the right to impose a £2,500 fixed monetary penalty if a business fails to comply with the Improvement Notice.

Get ahead of the curve as a small business – For smaller businesses preparing for this eventual change, why not take this as an opportunity to promote the healthier options on your menus and introduce calorie labelling? Getting ahead of the curve has never been more important, and with the rise in health conscious consumers, many will credit you for including this information – even when you’re not legally required to do so.

Get ahead of the curve with desirable menu design

Does your food business need a hand with creative menu design? With the new changes coming into effect, Eat Marketing can help create a desirable menu ensuring the legislation information doesn’t overpower the design.

Find out more

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