New UK law will require calories to appear on menus in large restaurant chains

New UK law will require calories to appear on menus in large restaurant chains

A new law in the UK will require restaurants, cafes and takeaway chains with more than 250 members of staff to print the number of calories in their products on menus, website and online delivery platforms.

This new law, which comes into effect today, Wednesday 6, April, comes as part of a government plan that aims to fight obesity by helping restaurant-goers to make healthier decisions.

Although some large restaurant chains already publish the calorie content of their product on their menus, many restaurant owners feel that it will harm their business. Mexican-style street food restaurant owner, Mark Selby told the BBC:  “Our chain is completely up for being clear and transparent to customers on food and drink information. But the focus on counting calories only tells part of the story but I think it slightly misses out some quite important fundamentals around food – be it nutrition, fibre, all those things – which potentially we feel might be more relevant or certainly need to be considered.”

Masterchef winner Sven-Hanson Britt tweeted

“Kids will grow up in restaurants, hotels and cafes only looking at that little number below a dish. Choices will be made based on a number alone. The love of flavour, ingredients, history, cooking craft or nutrition will be lost and masked by a newly perceived focus.” 

Kate Nicholls, boss of the industry group UK Hospitality, stated:  “We’ve long called for a delay to the implementation of calorie labelling, and we’d like to see a grace period post-April to allow businesses breathing space in which to implement the new rules without the risk of unnecessary enforcement action from day one.”

“It’s completely unfair to expect businesses devastated by Covid to all of a sudden introduce complicated and costly new labelling when they’ve much more pressing matters to attend to – recouping their losses of the past 24-months for a start” she added.

The new legislation has raised concerns with regard to people suffering from eating disorders. Beat, The UK’s eating disorder charity’s Director of external affairs, Tom Quinn stated: “It can increase a fixation on restricting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase feelings of guilt for those with binge eating disorder. There is also very limited evidence that the legislation will lead to changed eating habits among the general population.”


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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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