Calorie information could soon be a regular feature on menus across the UK according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) following ‘productive’ trials with 21 catering companies over the summer.
According to Gillian Merron, Minister for Public Health, the first group of businesses to take part in the trials have seen “positive results” and some have agreed to continue putting calorie information on their menus.
The catering firms, which included restaurants, fast food outlets and staff canteens, have been displaying the calorie content of dishes on menus in a select number of their outlets to help customers make healthier choices.
A consultation, launched last week, seeks views from the public as well as the catering industry on how calorie information should appear and will close on 11 March next year. It sets out the key principles of a scheme, which are based on the work that the Agency undertook over the summer.
Phil Hooper, corporate affairs director at contract caterer Sodexo, which took part in the trial, said its customers largely welcomed the labelling.
“Given the scope of our business and the diversity of the people we serve, we have naturally found areas where the scheme has been more well-received and useful than others,” he said.
The FSA has also published an independent evaluation of the scheme which found that calorie labelling was introduced with “relative ease”.
Chief executive Tim Smith described the work with the catering sector as “groundbreaking”.
“Whether people are grabbing a snack on the go, eating in a staff restaurant or out for a meal with their family – the introduction of calorie labelling will enable them to see what choices are healthier and help them improve their diets,” he added.
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By Janie Stamford
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