The first eighteen catering businesses that have agreed to publish calorie information on their menus have been named by the Food Standards Agency.
After research last year showed that most consumers would take notice of nutrition information printed at the point of sale, i.e. on menus, several caterers agreed to join the FSA in helping individuals and families trying to choose a healthier diet. In turn, each company has agreed to display calorie information clearly and visibly on menu boards, paper menus or on shelves for most of the food and drink they serve.
They include: Burger King, Compass Group UK and Ireland, The Co-operative Expresso cafes, ISS Mediclean, KFC, Marks & Spencer Cafes, Chessington World of Adventures, Harvester restaurants and Scream pubs, operated by Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger, Sainsbury’s Cafes, Sodexo, Subway, Tesco staff restaurants, Unilever staff restaurants, Waitrose Cafes, Wimpy and 7 Day Catering.
Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA said: “We are pleased that such a diverse range of companies has agreed to work with us by introducing calorie labelling at the crucial point where their customers make a decision about what to eat. Our aim is to ensure that consumers have better information so they can make informed choices to improve their diet when eating out.”
After the first companies begin to publish nutrition information on their menus at the end of April, the FSA has estimated that by June 2009 over 450 food outlets in the UK will offer calorie information, although some may be on a pilot basis.
While the idea of calorie labelling has become a contentious issue in the catering industry due to seemingly overlooked practical and financial implications, the FSA has said it will monitor and review the scheme before embarking on a wider rollout.