Written by: Trade Interchange

Posted on: 15/11/21

Mandatory Calorie Law to be introduced in England from April 2022

Following consultation on calorie labelling for food and drink in 2018, the government has introduced legislation to implement mandatory calorie labelling for large food businesses (those with 250 or more employees) in the out of home sector.

The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021 will come into force in England from 6 April 2022.

Businesses in the scope of mandatory calorie law

The out of home sector generally includes outlets where food and drink is prepared so it can be consumed immediately, whether on or off the premises. Companies in England that employ 250 or more people will have to follow the regulations, and the government will also encourage smaller businesses to adopt calorie labelling voluntarily.

The most common types of businesses in this area include restaurants, cafes, and takeaways. However, retail businesses, such as supermarkets, are also growing contributors to food on the go sales. The types of business affected by the regulations include, but may not be limited to:

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, supermarkets, and fast-food outlets
  • Cafes and takeaways in larger venues, including cinemas, entertainment venues, supermarkets, and department stores
  • Contract caterers, including those providing food at hospitals, workplaces, and educational institutions for over-18s
  • Specialist food stores, bakeries, delis, and sweet shops
  • Domestic transport businesses including planes, trains, and ferries
  • Home delivery services and third-party apps that sell food within the scope of the regulations

What does this mean for the consumer?

The calorie information (in kilocalories), the reference to portion size, and a statement of daily calorie needs must be displayed clearly and prominently at the “point of choice” for the consumer.

When implementing the regulations, there are two principal types of “point of choice” businesses should take into consideration:

  • Food chosen from a menu, such as menu boards, electronic menus, online menus, and menus on third-party delivery apps
  • Food chosen from displays, such as display cases, shelves, and buffets

In all cases, the required information must be easily visible, clearly legible, and cannot be obscured in any way by other writing or pictorial elements.

Why are the regulations being implemented?

The mandatory calories regulations will form part of the government’s wider strategy to tackle obesity and encourage consumers to make healthier food and drink choices.

In addition to persuading consumers to make healthier choices, calorie labelling also aims to encourage the affected businesses to reformulate the food and drink they offer and provide lower calories options to consumers.

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