New calorie labelling rules are due to come into force in April 2022 and will apply to business with over 250 employees. However, UKHospitality argues that the current timeframe will badly damage the sector at a time when the focus must be ‘squarely on recovery’.
The trade body has written to Public Health minister Jo Churchill MP, calling for a delay of at least six months, giving hospitality businesses ‘valuable breathing space and the best possible chance to get back on their feet following 16 months of closure and severely disrupted trading’.
A delay would also allow businesses the time to fully engage on the detail and have systems ready in place.
UKHospitality and its members say they are supportive of the Government’s aims to reduce obesity and increase consumer choice.
However, the new requirements, along with necessary additional staff training, will cost some affected businesses millions of pounds, UKHospitality says.
New and expensive technical systems for nutritional analysis may also have to be implemented to accurately calculate calorie content.
“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,” says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“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. We are keen to continue working closely with officials on the detail of this legislation, so it delivers for both consumers and businesses.”
“A delay would help ease the pressure and allow the sector to play its full role in the UK’s economic recovery.”