Countdown to Calorie Labelling: Month-by-Month Breakdown for Food Operators

The Calorie Labelling England Laws come into effect from April 6th 2022. Under this new legislation, it will be mandatory for certain businesses in England to display the calorie content of the food they sell. The new legislation will apply to large food businesses (businesses with 250 or more employees) in the out-of-home sector. 

The out-of-home sector includes any outlet where food or drink is prepared in a way that means it is ready for immediate consumption, on or off the premises. Common examples here include restaurants, cafes, deli counters and takeaways.

Why is New Legislation Being Put Into Place?

This new calorie labelling legislation is being introduced in an effort to tackle rising obesity levels. Obesity is one of the greatest long-term health challenges faced by the UK. The majority of adults (63%) are above a healthy weight, half of which are living with obesity. As well as this, one in every three children leaving primary school is overweight with 1 in 5 living with obesity (Source).

Three Month Countdown to New Calorie Labelling Regulations

At the turn of the year there were just over 3 months until the new regulations came into effect. With that in mind we put together a month-by-month checklist with our top tips on how to comply with the Calorie Labelling Regulations. 

January – Focus on Suppliers and Stock Audit

Before you begin, it is important to break down exactly what needs to be done. We suggest giving each month a specific focus. For January, that means
focusing on suppliers and your stock. Start as soon as possible and put robust processes in place well in advance. 

At this point there are some important questions you need to ask yourself regarding your suppliers and the stock you use. These include:

                        • What information do you receive from suppliers and what format is it in? 
                        • Can you ensure this information is stored accurately and transferred to recipes and menus? 
                        • How are changes to ingredients being managed? Identify the menu options that are the highest priority and if they are not already standardised and quantified get these details documented. 
                        • Check your menus. Is the calorie information presented in the same font, style and prominence as the name, description or price of the food? Is the information clear and legible?

Below is a list of some of the most important tasks and considerations for month 1.

                        1. Look at your menus and recipes, and make sure they are up to date in your digital food management system.
                        2. Document the exact ingredient formulas used to create each menu item on offer. Don’t forget to include any seasonal variations or frequent substitutions in this audit.
                        3. Get your suppliers in order. Organise stock and document the various brands used in your supply chain.
                        4. Only buy products from your approved suppliers list. Make sure you define your preferred brands and agree to any substitutions whenever your first choice isn’t available.
                        5. Ask your suppliers to let you know if there is going to be a change to a product in your fixed agreed order. Use an electronic food information system to make managing and updating information quick and easy.
                        6. If you have doubts or concerns at this stage, you should consider changing to a more flexible and compliant supplier. 
                        7. Once happy, list all approved suppliers on your HACCP Plan.

February: Focus on Calorie Labelling Software and Hardware 

There are solutions that have been developed specifically for the field of food and menu labelling. You should evaluate whether you need to invest. 

Automated menu management solutions make time-consuming analysis much more efficient. Be sure to look for software that can integrate with the menu creation processes and provide additional value like cost analysis. Nutritics Menu Management Solution is specifically designed to help large food businesses to increase profit, build customer loyalty and comply with food law.

Below is a list of some of the most important tasks and considerations for month 2.

                    • Assess your existing software and menu management system. Decide whether it is fit for purpose or if you need to invest in an advanced system.
                    • Opt for a software system that: 
                                    • Enables the sharing of food information in real-time to reduce risk of inaccuracies in the event of a change.
                                    • Automates calculations based on recipe ingredients, quantities and cooking methods to make time-consuming analysis much more efficient and greatly reduces the risk of human error. 
                                    • Simplifies the calorie labelling process by choosing one product that integrates from start-to-finish with the food chain.

If you would like to know more about digital menu solutions that support calorie labelling compliance, you can speak to one of the labelling experts at Nutritics – book a consultation.

March: Focus on Calorie Labelling Training For Staff  

While staff training and education should be ongoing, we still think it’s important to dedicate one month specifically to getting your whole team on board. Calorie labelling training should be implemented across your food production process. 

All staff should be made aware of the Calorie Labelling Legislation, whether they are involved in ordering ingredients, managing software, producing food or selling to consumers. It’s a good idea to appoint a ‘nutrition champion’ to provide ongoing training to staff. This person should take up a project management role, ensuring all tasks are carried out and that your organisation is well on its way to compliance. 

Below is a list of some of the most important tasks and considerations for month 3.

                      • Put in place a staff training programme on calorie labelling. Empower staff across the business to ensure up-to-date information is maintained. 
                      • Everyone in your business has a role to play in ensuring that information can be kept up-to-date and accurate. 
                      • Define exact roles and responsibilities and appoint a “nutrition champion” who regularly validates the recipe formulas of every item on your menu. 

Trial Run and Testing: March/Early April

Once you have added supplier information, recipes and created menus in your chosen software system and trained staff, it’s time for a trial run. During the trial run it’s important to go through all aspects of your supply chain and stress-test all areas for compliance with the new Calorie Labelling Legislation. 

The trial run should be carried out well in advance of the deadline on April 6th 2022. This will leave time to deal with any shortcomings. 

Ready to Go!

If you’ve followed all the steps, you’re ready to go! Use any spare time you have in the weeks before the deadline to make sure that all internal processes are as smooth and risk-free as they can be. 

To learn more about the calorie labelling legislation and to download a FREE introductory guide, please visit our resources page.