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New Legislation Mandates Calorie Labels on UK Restaurant Menus

New legislation became law on the 6th April regarding the listing of calorie information on restaurant menus.

New legislation became law on the 6th April regarding the listing of calorie information on restaurant menus. So, what does this mean for the UK hospitality sector? Marc Bertorelli, who has spent his entire working life in the hospitality sector, and is now the Business Development Manager of hospitality accountancy specialists Paperchase explains in detail what the new law means.

It is estimated that overweight and obesity related conditions across the UK costs the NHS £6.1 billion each year. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity, whilst 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese.

As a result, on 22nd July 2021, UK Parliament passed legislation making it compulsory for restaurants, cafes and take-aways to print calorie labels on menus. These measures, which now form part of the government’s wider strategy to tackle obesity, will be expected to ensure people are able to make more informed, healthier choices when it comes to eating food out or ordering takeaway food into their homes.

Now, in April 2022, this legislation becomes law and larger restaurants, cafes and takeaways in England will need to display calorie information for customers at the point of choice.

Business Scope
The requirement extends to any business with 250 or more employees which offers non-prepacked foods and soft drink items suitable for immediate consumption by the purchaser. The legislation requires that the new information be displayed on physical menus, online menus, and food delivery platforms and will need to report the calorie values of those foods.

The types of businesses covered by this requirement include:

Franchise Businesses
Franchisees carrying out business under a franchise framework agreement where the sum of the overall franchisees in the franchise group exceed 250 or more employees, will be seen and considered as qualifying. It will be the responsibility of the business selling the food, the franchisee, to ensure the calorie information is displayed in accordance with the regulations.

Where the franchising agreement does not cover common foods across the franchise network, and only covers the provision of alcoholic drinks, as in the case of a pub franchise, a franchisees business is not thought to be part of the franchisors for the purpose of determining whether it is a qualifying business

Online Food Sales
The requirement extends to foods sold on a website or on a mobile application, including third party delivery services such as Just Eat and Deliveroo. Where food in scope of the regulations is sold on a website or mobile application, the business responsible for that website or mobile platform (the remote provider) is then responsible, irrespective of the size of that business, and is then registered to display the calorie information offered for sale by the qualifying business.

Mass Catering
Calorie labelling is not required in certain establishments when food is provided ‘in house’ such as a staff canteen. However, where food is provided by another organisation, with 250 or more employees, such as a large contract caterer, then calorie information must be displayed. The following establishments qualify:

Qualifying Foods
Qualifying foods include:

Exempt foods include:

Exempt foods for particular audiences:

Other exemptions:

Restaurants, cafes, and takeaways will be allowed to offer a menu without calorie information upon request. However, menus with calorie details should still be offered by default.

Menus in restaurants, cafes and take-aways with over 250 employees will also have the message that “adults need on average around 2000 kcal a day.” This guidance is not in line with NHS guidelines, which state that the ideal daily intake of calories varies depending on age, metabolism, and levels of physical activity, among other things, men need around 2,500 calories a day and women need around 2,000 calories a day.

Displaying Calorie Information & Calorie Content
Businesses selling food in scope of this regulation must:

Calculating Calorie Content
The calorie content displayed should be calculated using the conversion factors listed in Annex XIV of the Retained EU Regulations 1669/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers and should be average values based on:

Tools
A number of menu planning tools are already on the market that will help hospitality businesses to manage this process. One such tool is MenuCal, which can help food businesses comply with legal requirements to manage and record allergen information. It can also be used to calculate the amount of energy in food and drink on the menu. Developed for food businesses in Northern Ireland, MenuCal is a free, practical, and easy to use tool. It can be accessed online using a computer, tablet or phone and stores information safely and securely.

Penalties
The penalty for noncompliance by a qualifying business may result in a enforcement officer serving an improvement notice. However, any person who fails to comply with an improvement notice is guilty of an offence and may be served with a fixed monetary penalty (FMP) of £2,500 as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

Benefit to the Hospitality Business
Calories have been disputed as an accurate way of determining how ‘healthy’ our diet is. It is very difficult to estimate how many calories any one person needs as so many factors can influence this, something that a universal recommended daily calorie intake does not consider. As a food business, one should base your meal plan on the medical advice that you have received, not general Government guidance.

There are three main benefits to hospitality to putting energy information on the menu:

For More Information
Marc Bertorelli comments, “Paperchase provides hospitality businesses with practical insights, solutions and support, every day of their working life, from conception, to opening, through to expansion. Supporting operators confronting the challenges of creating, growing, and maintaining a successful business, if you need help implementing the new legislation regarding calorie information labelling, or any other issue, Paperchase can help.”

About the author:
Marc Bertorelli gained a BSc (Hons) in International Hospitality Management from Oxford Brookes University, following which, he has worked front-of-house with many illustrious establishments, including the London Mandarin Oriental, the Michelin stared ‘The Foliage’ and the Savoy. Marc is now Business Development Manager of Paperchase, the UKs leading hospitality accountancy and business improvement specialists.

Marc Bertorelli can be contacted on:
M: 07545 922908 E: marc@Pchase.co.uk W: www.Pchase.co.uk