Mandatory calorie labelling timing ‘counterproductive and damaging’

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Present plan: the rules are currently set to come into force in April 2022 (image: Getty/NatashaPhoto)
Present plan: the rules are currently set to come into force in April 2022 (image: Getty/NatashaPhoto)

Related tags: Food, ukhospitality, Kate nicholls, Legislation

The introduction of mandatory calorie labelling is set to come into force in April next year, which would “badly damage the sector at a time when the focus must be squarely on recovery”, one trade body has said.

The new rules, which will apply to businesses with 250 and over employees, will force businesses to spend cash on additional staff training.

UKHospitality (UKH) written to public health minister Jo Churchill, calling for a minimum delay of six months in a bid to give businesses breathing space and a chance to get back on their feet after 16 months of closure and disrupted trading.

It went on to state how a delay would allow firms time to fully engage details and have systems ready in place.

Risks damaging investment

The legislation was first proposed during the Queen’s Speech​ last month (May) with operators telling The Morning Advertiser ​it would be “an absolute nightmare”​.

At the time of the announcement, UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls hoped it could be looked at how best to meet the objectives in a business-friendly way.

She is now calling on the Government to postpone the plans and said: “The vast majority of operators are in survival mode and will be for the foreseeable future.

“We therefore, urge the Government to consider delaying the implementation of this legislation rather than layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic and risks damaging business’ ability to invest and create jobs.

“The out-of-home sector supports Government efforts to increase healthier eating habits, as demonstrated by the proactive actions already in reformulating menus to reduce calories and increase transparency and choice for customers.”

Burdensome requirements

Nicholls went on to say the trade body was keen to continue working closely with officials on the detail of this legislation, so it delivers for both consumers and businesses.

She added: “But with the burdensome requirements of allergen labelling for pre-packed food also coming into effect in October this year, this new legislation adds further costs at the worst possible time.

“A delay would help ease the pressure and allow the sector to play its full role in the UK’s economic recovery.”

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