The Food Standards Agency (FSA) today revealed the names of the restaurants and caterers taking part in its menu labelling trial this summer.
The scheme, initially covering calorie information, follows research carried out by the FSA before Christmas which revealed that consumers were in favour of seeing more nutritional information on menus or at the point of sale. They believed it was a natural next step from the information retailers provide on food packaging.
The companies taking part are: Burger King, Compass Group, Co-operative supermarket cafes, ISS Mediclean, KFC, Marks & Spencer Revive Cafes, Merlin Entertainment, Mitchell & Butlers, Pizza Hut, Pret a Manger, Sainsbury's cafes, Sodexo, Subway, Tesco staff restaurants, Unilever staff canteens, Waitrose cafes, 7 Day Catering and Wimpy.
"As a company, Sodexo has long been committed to the development of healthy eating initiatives and view the FSA's early adopter scheme as an extension of these. We are encouraged by these activities and are pleased to be one of the first companies to take part," commented Phil Hooper, corporate affairs director with the contract caterer.
FSA chief executive Tim Smith said: “We are pleased that such a diverse range of companies has agreed to work with us. Our aim is to ensure that consumers have better information so they can make informed choices to improve their diet when eating out.”
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo added: “I want to see more catering companies join this ground-breaking first group to help their customers make healthier choices.”
When the menu labelling scheme was announced in January, the British Hospitality Association warned it would have “significant cost implications” for catering businesses particularly if it becomes statutory.
But Smith stressed that the scheme would not become compulsory. “Something that is not voluntary has not entered my mind,” he said. “It will be consumer power that will drive it – not the Agency. Operators can see the competitive advantage in this.”
By Daniel Thomas
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