The Department of Health is considering a consultation on plans to mandate any business with 250 or more employees to display calorie labels.
A Government spokesperson confirmed to The Morning Advertiser that a consultation is to launch “soon” on the topic of mandatory calorie labelling on alcohol, as outlined in its obesity strategy.
No decisions have yet been taken, the spokesperson stressed.
Trade groups have described the proposals as “ludicrous” and said they would knock the industry when it was already struggling.
It is not the first time the trade has been threatened with mandatory calorie labels, as reported by The Morning Advertiser last year.
Chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, Emma McClarkin said the suggestions were “ludicrous” and particularly “outrageous” at a time when pubs were beginning to trade again.
“Now is not the time to heap burdensome and expensive regulation on our pubs,” she added. “Our pubs are on their knees and the Government already knows this."
Mental health concerns
The proposals were also a threat to consumers’ wellbeing and enjoyment of pubs, the CEO said.
“The British people have had months without going to their local. It has been tough mentally and socially,” McClarkin said. “Let them enjoy it again and let our businesses rebuild.
“We must remember that after so much enforced isolation, the pub has an important role to play in tackling loneliness and improving mental health.”
Would you support mandatory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks at pubs?
In the past, eating disorder charities have hit back at Government proposals to enforce calorie labelling on menus.
The move would represent “another costly and complicated hit to struggling pubs and breweries,” according to chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, James Calder.
Calder said the proposals would be a “double whammy” for struggling small breweries which would have to front the “challenges and costs” of calculating calories and adapting labelling and pump clips.
He added: “As small breweries are at the cutting edge of innovation they brew different beers throughout the year and use specialist ingredients. This means it’s much more difficult to calculate calorie content accurately, which can change over time.
"The vast majority cannot afford expensive labs used by global breweries that make the same beer every day of the year.”