Date Published: 6 April 2009

Restaurants and caterers to display calories on menus

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

Eighteen major catering companies, including many high street names, are to introduce calorie information on their menus for the first time.

The list of trailblazers, announced today by Minister for Public Health Dawn Primarolo and the Food Standards Agency, will begin displaying calorie information from the end of this month.

The list (shown below), includes workplace caterers, sit-down and quick-service restaurants, theme parks and leisure attractions, pub restaurants, cafes and sandwich chains.

The move will benefit individuals and families trying to choose a healthier diet.

The catering trailblazers

Companies involved include a number of well-known high street names and several major contract caterers:

* Burger King
* Compass Group UK and Ireland – in a number of Royal Mail staff restaurants
* The Co-operative Expresso cafes
* ISS Mediclean – in a number of London hospital restaurants
* Marks & Spencer cafes
* Chessington World of Adventures and Zoo, operated by Merlin Entertainment
* Harvester restaurants and Scream pubs, operated by Mitchells & Butlers
* Pizza Hut
* Pret A Manger
* Sainsbury’s cafes
* Sodexo – in a number of client restaurants in its corporate and defence sectors
* Subway
* Tesco staff restaurants
* Unilever staff restaurants (in partnership with Sodexo)
* Waitrose cafes
* Wimpy
* 7 Day Catering – in college restaurants

By June, more than 450 food outlets across the country will have introduced calorie information, some on a pilot basis.

Each company has agreed to:

* display calorie information for most food and drink they serve
* print calorie information on menu boards, paper menus or on the edge of shelves
* ensure the information is clear and easily visible at the point where people choose their food

Making calorie information available at the point of choice is the first and simplest step, which will lead to more clarity for people when eating out.

Minister for Public Health Dawn Primarolo said:

"We know that people want to be able to see how many calories are in the food and drink they order when they eat out.

I want to see more catering companies join this ground-breaking first group to help their customers make healthier choices."

Food Standards Agency Chief Executive Tim Smith 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, whether that is a snack on the go, a meal in a staff restaurant or at a table being served by a waiter."

Independent research will assess how easily customers understand and use the system and gather feedback from the restaurants themselves to look at practical issues and the costs involved in providing the information. Gathering this data will inform the next steps for a wider roll-out of calorie labelling on menus.

Research published by the Food Standards Agency last year (see the link below) showed that consumers would welcome simple, clear and visible nutrition information when eating out.

The names of the 18 companies introducing calorie information on their menus are published today in the first annual report of the Government’s obesity strategy ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives – One Year On’. The report sets out the Government’s efforts to tackle obesity over the last year and plans going forward.


Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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