The British Takeaway Campaign (BTC), spearheaded by Just Eat has written to the government calling on it to exempt restaurants and takeaways with fewer than five outlets from its proposals for mandatory calorie labelling.
The proposals, currently out for consultation, risk overwhelming local takeaways, which lack the resources and infrastructure to implement them, the BTC said. It calculated implementing mandatory calorie labelling could cost up to £150 per menu item. The BTC, which represents restaurant and takeaway owners, food manufacturers, supply chain organisations and trade associations, is calling for a three-tiered approach to calorie labelling.
- for restaurants and takeaways with fewer than five outlets, calorie labelling should be on a voluntary basis only;
- for restaurants with five to ten outlets, a two-year delay to the adoption of mandatory calorie labelling, once the new regulations come into force;
- calorie labelling to be mandatory from day one for all other takeaways and restaurants. –
Ibrahim Dogus, Chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, said, “The takeaway sector is committed to providing customers healthier choices and playing an active role in tackling obesity. All we are asking is that calorie labelling plans are rolled out in a way that the small business owners who run our local Fish and Chip shops, our Kurdish and Turkish kebab houses and our Indian takeaways can cope with. Otherwise we risk choking the life out of a Great British institution.”
“Most takeaway restaurants are small, independent businesses who face an array of pressures from rising business rates to skills shortages. We want to ensure these restaurants, that are part of the fabric of British culture, continue to thrive whilst playing their part to promote healthy eating.”
In June last year, then Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the government would consider exempting small restaurants from having to list calorie counts, but that “all the big chains that we go to, they must give people that information”.
Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said: “Having a takeaway or eating out is no longer a treat, it’s a regular part of everyday life, yet too often menus are information free zones.”