Out of home sector - mandatory calorie labelling: consultation

The public is being invited to have their say on plans to add the number of calories to menus in the out of home food sector including cafes, restaurants and takeaways.

4. Who we expect it to apply to

4.1 As described in section 2, the OOH sector is diverse, including a wide range of types and sizes of businesses[3] (as listed in paragraph 1.2). We estimate around 41,000 OOH outlets fall under our definition. For some businesses (including public sector operations), selling food ready for immediate consumption is their primary operation, but for others, such as a convenience store selling hot drinks and filled rolls, it might be a small part of their business.

4.2 A split of the number of outlets by business size band is displayed in the table below.

Number of employees[4] % of outlets Number of outlets[5]
< 10 (micro) 60% 24,778
Between 10-49 (small) 16% 6,608
Between 50-249 (medium) 4% 1,652
250 or more (large) 20% 8,259

4.3 To have the greatest impact, mandatory calorie labelling would need to apply to all outlets selling foods within scope of the policy. This would mean that at all eating occasions, consumers would have the information needed to make an informed choice, and the food environment would have a consistent approach to the provision of this information. It would also enable all businesses to have the information they require to assess the range of food and drinks on offer and review portion size or meal composition to ensure healthy offerings.

4.4 Responses to the FSS consultation in 2019 showed there was desire for a level playing field between businesses, and with the retail environment where all foods are required by law to have nutrition information provided.

4.5 That said, we are aware of the work required to calculate calorie contents of foods sold, both during the initial implementation phase, and any subsequent changes to menus, and that this may be challenging. We will carefully review the responses to this consultation to inform the consideration of possible exemptions. In considering any exemptions, we must also consider the impact they could have on widening health inequalities. For example, excluding small and micro businesses from the policy has the possibility of excluding rural areas and areas of social economic disadvantage, thereby potentially widening inequalities further.

4.6 We know that many food businesses operate on a franchise basis. In these situations, we would propose classifying the size of the business by the total employees of the franchisor and not as separate businesses. Convenience stores operating under a Symbol Group are classed as individual businesses for the purpose of size classification. See the glossary for a definition of both terms.

Question 3 – To which size of business in scope of the policy, should mandatory calorie labelling apply:

1. All businesses

2. All except businesses with fewer than 10 employees (micro)

3. All except businesses with fewer than 50 employees (small and micro)

4. All except businesses with fewer than 250 employees (medium, small and micro)

5. None

6. Other

Don't know

Please explain your answer

Question 4 – We are considering including food provided for residents and/or patients within the following public sector institutions within the scope of the policy. [6]Should food in these settings be included within the scope of the policy?

1 Hospitals

2 Prisons

3 Adult care settings

4 Military settings

For each: Yes/No/Don't Know

Please explain your answer



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