New UK Calorie Legislation Likely to Influence Choice of Food & Restaurant for Over 50% of Brits

New research shows calorie labelling legislation*, coming into force on the 6th April 2022, is likely to influence more than half of consumers’ choices when it comes to choosing what to eat (57%) and where they eat, with 43% of consumers saying they’d be more likely to select a restaurant with calorie labelling on the menu.

Whilst there has been some public scepticism around whether the new legislation will support the Government’s aim of tackling obesity, it is clearly welcomed by many consumers – 68% of consumers surveyed feel the new legislation is a ‘good’ move.

The latest consumer research on calorie labelling was carried out by technology company, Vita Mojo in partnership with Kam Media and based on a nationally representative study of over 1000 participants.

Other key findings from the research:
● A low proportion of consumers (21%) think that the legislation will have a positive effect on the nation’s obesity levels, however, the majority of consumers do track calories
– 48% actively keep track or have awareness of the calories that they consume (15% to a great extent and 33% to some extent)
– 24% say they keep track of calories/track them a little

● Gen Z more focused on tracking calories than millennials
32% of Gen Z say they track calories to a great extent, compared to just 23% of millennials.

● Consumers living in urban areas are more influenced by calories
– 55% of those living in urban areas say they are more likely to choose a restaurant with calorie labelling on the menu, compared to 37% living in suburban areas and 35% in rural areas.
– 66% of those living in urban areas say calorie labelling is likely to influence what items they choose, compared to 54% in suburban areas and 52% in rural areas.
– 49% of those living in urban areas say they are more likely to return to a restaurant that offers calorie labelling, compared to 39% living in suburban areas and 37% in rural areas.

● Both men and women track calories
Only 30% of men say they don’t track calories in any way, similar to women (25%) .

Vita Mojo, whose technology powers over 90 UK restaurant brands, urges all restaurant owners, including smaller businesses, to look beyond the legislation and focus on the consumer. Stefan Catiou, co-founder says, “Our research shows consumers want to know more about what they eat, both in terms of how it impacts and supports their health goals as well as where the food comes from. This requirement is only going to increase, with younger generations taking even more interest in what they eat and how it is sourced.”

“There are many restaurants already doing this like LEON, Nando’s and YO! It is these restaurants that will be more successful in retaining existing customers and attracting future generations, taking their customer experience to the next level, and empowering them to make the right meal choice to meet their needs.”

Hugo Engel, Head of Digital at LEON said, “Our commitment to making food that tastes good and does you good has been at the heart of our brand since we launched in 2004. Giving our customers full transparency about our menu is incredibly important to us and we are always looking for ways to keep one step ahead. In the future, we see calorie and allergen labelling being just as important as being transparent about the environmental impact of our menu.”

Katy Moses, Founder & MD of KAM Media, says, “We know consumers are increasingly asking questions about the food and drink they consume. From food miles and sustainability through to calorie count and allergen labelling, Brits want easy access to the information which is important to them. The research highlighted that for restaurants in urban areas, home to high populations of Generation Z, it’s particularly important to make this information available. Giving these customers easy access to a clear breakdown of calories, dietary tags and allergens makes good business sense.”

* The new legislation, part of a wider government strategy to tackle obesity and promote healthy eating, requires all cafés, restaurants, and takeaways run by companies with more than 250 employees to include calorie labelling and counts on their menus.