Is Your Menu Ready for England’s New Calorie Labelling Legislation?

England’s new calorie labelling laws come into effect from April 6th. In this post, we outline the basic information you need to start preparing your menu for the new legislation. 

Who is affected?

The new calorie labelling legislation applies to all food businesses with over 250 employees, including the following:

                    • Restaurants, fast food outlets, cafés, pubs and supermarkets
                    • Cafés and takeaways within larger venues
                    • Specialist food stores, delicatessens, sweet shops and bakeries
                    • Contract catering
                    • Domestic transport within the UK
Which foods does this law cover?
                  • Unpackaged items, such as a meal at a restaurant.
                  • Pre-packed, ready-to-eat food for direct sale, such as a sandwich made and packaged on-site at a café.
                  • Food packaged at a consumer’s request, such as a pastry at a bakery.
                  • All items on your menu, including sides and toppings.
What information do I need to include?

The specifics of the information to be displayed are as follows:

                  • The energy content of the food in kilocalories (kcal),
                  • Reference to the portion to which the calorie information relates, and
                  • A daily energy requirement statement to provide context, e.g., “Adults need about 2,000 kcal per day.”
Where do I need to display this information?

The above must be displayed prominently at the point of choice for the customer, i.e., where the customer is likely to make a decision on which foods to buy.This includes physical and digital menus, menu boards or — where foods may be chosen from a selection of items on display, such as a buffet or deli counter — on a label identifying the food concerned. The calorie information must be clearly displayed and easily legible.

Does this apply to all food?

There are certain exemptions to the calorie labelling laws. These include items that will be on your menu for under 30 days (such as daily specials), condiments added by the customer and food requested by the customer that isn’t listed on the menu. The legislation does not apply to alcoholic beverages with an ABV of greater than 1.2%.

What about children’s menus?

Children’s menus are also required to display calorie information. However, these menus do not need to include a statement about daily energy requirements, as children need fewer calories than adults and these vary depending on the age of the child.

What steps should I take in creating a compliant menu?
                        1. Once you’re clear on exactly what is required, it’s time to examine your sources for calorie calculations. If you already have access to nutritional information provided by your suppliers, check whether it’s up to date, complete and accurate.
                        2. If you don’t have adequate information from your suppliers, you’ll need to do some research to find a trustworthy and reliable source for your calorie information.
                        3. Make a plan for gathering, storing and updating calorie information going forward. Decide how you will maintain your recipe data on an ongoing basis, in terms of calorie counts but also ingredient amounts and portion sizes.
                        4. Examine the nutritional value of your current menu options to ensure your operation provides a range of choices. This may be a good time to broaden your selection of lower-calorie menu options to ensure that revenue isn’t affected once customers are more aware of calorie contents.
                        5. You’ll also need to organise the logistics of printing, labelling and displaying the required information across menus, menu boards, online menus and/or labels on any pre-packaged food items.
                        6. Ensure that the calorie information is presented in the same font, style and prominence as the name, description or price of the food, and is both clear and legible.

Nutritics can provide your business with the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date calorie information available, as well as offering automated menu publishing systems to make this process as straightforward as possible.

Book a free consultation today and find out more!