Obesity Solutions Need Not Burden Operators

The ALMR has renewed its message that licensed hospitality is keen to help tackle childhood obesity, but warned about the introduction of measures that could stifle trade and increase burdens for employers.

The House of Commons Select Committee has published its report into childhood obesity making a number of recommendations including changes to legislation to include health as a planning consideration. The report also makes a number of other recommendations on portion sizes, promotions and the soft drinks levy.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The licensed hospitality sector is ready and willing to work alongside the Government to tackle childhood obesity, but we are wary about the introduction of legislative burdens that could restrict trade and increase financial pressure on businesses.

“Of particular concern is the recommendation that health be included as a planning consideration for local authorities. The ALMR has always reiterated the point that, for the vast majority of customers, eating out-of-home in pubs and restaurants is an occasional treat. Without transparent guidance on how future health-based planning decisions are made, pubs and restaurants could find themselves the victim of a policy that is intended to tackle unhealthy habits in children – a section of the populace that does not frequent those venues.

“Other recommendations such as a cap on portion sizes have the potential to be onerous and unworkable for businesses already working hard to provide healthier options and alternatives for customers.

“The ALMR has met with Public Health England on multiple occasions to help deliver workable solutions and we will continue to work closely with both local and national authorities. The sector is already working hard to promote healthier attitudes to food and is ready to do even more; but we must avoid the blanket imposition of vague and unworkable measures that undermine businesses without delivering on the scheme’s aims for children.