The government has launched a 12-week consultation which aims to help families make healthier choices about what they eat in restaurants, cafes and takeaways.
The consultation will also seek views on how this could apply to:
- small businesses
- street vendors
- restaurants with fast-changing menus
- online takeaway businesses
Calorie labels are already widely displayed on packaged foods in supermarkets and in some big chains including Wetherspoons and Subway. The new plans are intended to make sure that labelling is applied consistently so that families know how much they and their children are eating when out.
The plans form part of the government’s wider strategy to halve childhood obesity by 2030.
Evidence shows that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, who have a high risk of developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, strokes and heart disease.
The proposals have been welcomed by diabetes experts, who said that three-quarters of the British public have told them that they want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy.
Public Health Minister Steve Brine said:
Families want to know what they are eating when on the go, but in many cafés, restaurants and takeaways this information is not available.
This is not about forcing anyone to eat certain things, or companies to behave in a certain way, but I firmly believe we have a right to know the nutritional content of the food we give to our children.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and is often both preventable and reversible. That’s why we are taking action through this consultation, and I would ask everyone to respond with their ideas on how we can make this work.
Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Campaigns and Mobilisation at Diabetes UK, said:
People living with diabetes and more than three-quarters of the British public have told us that they want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy, to help make healthier choices – especially when they’re out and about. These bold, ambitious proposals from government are – if put into legislation – essential to making the healthy choice the easy choice for British consumers.
The UK is facing a type 2 diabetes crisis. With around two-thirds of adults in the UK classed as overweight or obese, and therefore at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic health conditions, it’s really important that we have measures in place that make it easier for all of us to lead healthier lives. These measures are the next vital step in making this a reality and – potentially – beginning to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes.
We look forward to the conclusions of this important consultation, and to seeing how these measures can practically be implemented in the
Responing to the consultation UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The consultation does seem to acknowledge that there will be difficulties for some businesses, particularly smaller ones, to implement calorie labelling. UKHospitality has been very clear that any inflexible mandatory requirements will place considerable burdens on smaller businesses and those venues that change their menus regularly.
“UKHospitality will be using the consultation as an opportunity to reiterate that point and highlight the efforts already being undertaken by the sector to provide transparency and choice.
“At a time of economic and political uncertainty, and with costs continuing to rise for employers, the last thing businesses need is additional, unwieldy legislation. We will be making this point forcefully to the Government to ensure that any new rules are proportionate and take into account the challenges faced by SMEs.”