Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2020

DHSC Consultation Update, 27 July 2020

NUTRITION / LABELLING - Mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector: Government response to public consultation

Mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector Government response to public consultation

A copy of this document is available on this site (click on image)

Provided uder the Open Government Licence. The original publication was accessed from:

This document has been published by the DHSC. It relates to the consultation which took place in 2018. For details of the consultation, see the news item from the time: 14 September 2018 NUTRITION / LABELLING - Consultation: Calorie labelling for food and drink served outside of the home.

The following is the Executive Summary from the response document:

Our food environment is constantly evolving and offering a growing range of choices of what to eat and when to eat. On-the-go food such as eating out or getting takeaways are forming a growing proportion of people's diets, however there is often a lack of information about the calorie content of these items.

It is important that families are supported to navigate an increasingly complex food environment and make healthier choices for themselves with clear food labelling having an important role to play.

Regular overconsumption of a relatively small number of calories over time leads to weight gain and may result in individuals becoming overweight or obese. Obesity increases an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and a number of cancers. 

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the impact obesity can have on individuals' health, with emerging evidence linking obesity with higher mortality rates from the disease. Most people know that eating a healthy diet whilst keeping active will help to prevent weight gain and reduce their risk of developing ill health, but this can be hard. We therefore need to support people to make healthier choices and build these into their everyday lives.

In 2018, the Government consulted on its intention to introduce mandatory calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector in England - that is any outlet where food or drink is prepared in a way that means it is ready for immediate consumption by the person who buys it. 

Following consultation, the Government will legislate to introduce calorie labelling for large businesses (businesses with 250+ employees) in England. Large businesses account for nearly half of the value of all food and drink sold in the out-of-home sector, therefore this approach is anticipated to deliver substantial health benefits.

The exemption of micro, small, and medium businesses does not prevent their inclusion in the requirement at a later date. The Department's impact assessment of the policy highlights the significant benefits of requiring all businesses, irrespective of size, to calorie label. The Government is committed to review the policy within 5 years of its implementation and will consider extending the requirement to include smaller businesses. In the meantime, smaller businesses are encouraged to voluntarily calorie label.

The Government will consult Local Authorities and business representatives on our proposals for how best to enforce the policy in advance of laying legislation.

See also related news item: 27 July 2020 NUTRITION - The Food and Drink Federation responds to the announcement of the new UK Government's obesity strategy

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