Mandatory calorie counts strongly opposed by hospitality bosses

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Brands that already publish calorie counts on menus include The Real Greek
Brands that already publish calorie counts on menus include The Real Greek

Related tags: Calorie information, Calorie labelling, Lumina Intelligence, Casual dining, Pubs, Coronavirus

The hospitality industry is strongly opposed to mandatory calorie counts on menus and alcohol point of sale material, according to the latest Hospitality Leaders Poll carried out by Lumina Intelligence.

Of the 191 questioned, all of whom are board level positions or founders of restaurants, pubs and food to go operations, 83% condemned plans to introduce calorie counts to menus.

76% were against the proposals to add calorie counts to alcohol, which the Government is planning to consult on soon.

Last month it was confirmed that restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees would be forced to add calorie labels to menus,​ although currently no time scale has been given.

“People go to pubs for a relaxed experience and know that their choices are not necessarily healthy ones,” said one multi-site operator, while another said: “It’s the wrong time to be doing this.”

However, of those that did support such a move, one said: “It’s simple information and a useful step for health.”

Mandatory calorie labelling for larger out-of-home businesses has been on the cards for nearly a decade but the Coronavirus crisis appears to have galvanised the Government.

New research has confirmed that being obese or overweight puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.

The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Europe. Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, with similar figures in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It has also been hit harder by the pandemic by most European countries.

Trade body UKHospitality says that the plans were well-meaning but ‘could not have come at a worse time’.

Lumina Intelligence’s Hopsilaity Leaders Poll also found that fear of a local lockdown is haunting the industry, with 94% of those questioned saying they were concerned about the prospect.

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