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Government Announces Public Consultation on Calorie Transparency

8:36 am

The government is seeking public opinion on whether calorie information should be listed on all food and beverage products, despite the Treasury warning of potential job losses and price hikes if it comes to fruition.

Mandatory labelling would give consumers all the nutritional information they need before making a purchasing decision. This is good news for health campaigners, who have backed the government's target of halving childhood obesity by 2030.

However, the Treasury has warned it could cost up to £500 to count the calories of individual dishes.

What does the government want to know?

  1. Which businesses and products should have to display calorie information
  2. What information should be displayed alongside calorie advice
  3. Where the information should be displayed
  4. How businesses can put this into practice and whether they will face any issues or obstacles in doing so

Is this a good thing?

The hospitality industry has long felt like it is treated harshly by government. From the smoking ban to business rates, decisions seem to have been made without all sides having their say. 

With this consultation, the government is demonstrating a willingness to hear different points of view and give the industry the chance to shape potential legislation.

62% of respondents to our Pulse Survey felt the government wasn't doing enough to support hospitality, so this is a clear step in the right direction.

What are the concerns?

Counter arguments suggest labelling could encourage eating disorders as people become overly strict with calorie counting.

Businesses may also see profits declining. Health-conscious diners could decide to reduce the amount of times they eat out per month, or perhaps order something cheaper and healthier. It's easy to envisage people foregoing that extra side of chips if they tot up their total calorie count, or holding back on that third beer.

Additionally, there are fears this would severely impact small businesses and restrict their ability to change menus. With seasonality becoming so important, particularly with uncertainty around imports after Brexit, calorie labelling could result in more rigid menus and increased prices.

Have your say on the survey here.

What are your views on the consultation? Let us know in the comments below!


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