Less than a month until calorie label rules enforced

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

New rules: the regulations, which will impact firms with 250 or more workers, will be in place from 6 April (image: Getty/Hispanolistic)
New rules: the regulations, which will impact firms with 250 or more workers, will be in place from 6 April (image: Getty/Hispanolistic)

Related tags: Food, Legislation, ukhospitality, Government

Pub groups with more than 250 employees have four weeks to prepare for calorie information regulations, which will come into force from 6 April.

The legislation, which was proposed during the Queen’s Speech in May 2021​, means larger pub companies will have to display calorie information on non-prepacked food and drink on sale.

The energy content must be displayed in kilocalories (kcal), reference the size of the portion to which the calorie information relates and display the statement ‘adults need around 2,000 kcal a day’.

Where food is chosen from a menu, the information must be shown next to the description or price of the food.

The calorie content must be calculated using the conversion factors listed in the annex XIV of the Retained EU Regulations 1169/2011​ on the provision of food information to consumers.

It should be average values based on either the manufacturer’s analysis of the food, a calculation from the known or average values of the ingredients used, a calculation from generally established and accepted data.

Rule details

A combination of these methods is acceptable for the same menu, or even the same product if it is made up of different constituent parts.

Local authorities will enforce the new rules and have discretion in how they do so, including the accuracy of calorie information.

When conducting inspections, it is expected enforcement officers will check the presence of calorie information on food and drink items under the scope of the policy.

It is also expected they will check calorie information is displayed as per the requirements, alongside the method businesses have used to calculate calorie content is considered appropriate and reliable as well as ensuring the calorie information is appropriately displayed on any online platforms the business may have, including third party delivery platforms.

Should firms fail to comply with the regulations, enforcement officers are permitted and encouraged to have initial conversations with businesses to resolve potential non-compliance in the first instance.

However, anyone who fails to comply is guilty of an offence and where satisfied beyond reasonable doubt an offence has been committed, the enforcement authority may impose a civil sanction under the Regulatory and Sanctions Act 2008 (RESA) of a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500 as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

Trade response

At the time it was announced, operators told The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​) the rules would be “an absolute nightmare”​.

Furthermore, a Twitter poll of more than 100 MA ​readers​ showed 86.3% did not support the plans, while 8.8% were supportive.

Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) previously criticised the timing of the regulations’ enforcement​, as this will happen when Government support is reduced such as VAT increasing back to 20% alongside staff shortages and rising prices.

UKH boss Kate Nicholls said: “These new rules come into force at a very challenging time for our industry.

“Not only are businesses battling a workforce crisis and operating cost pressures, at the same time as managing crippling debt levels and depleted cash reserves, this April will see the triple whammy of a rise in VAT, business rates and labour costs.”

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