Calorie Labelling Regulation: what you need to know to comply

All, Cafes & Coffee Shops, Casual Dining & Quick-Service, Pubs & Bars

February 9, 2022

Calorie Labelling and your restaurant: how to comply with the Regulations

On 6th April 2022, calorie labelling on menus became mandatory for operators in England with more than 250 employees. The Calorie labelling Regulation is part of a wider government strategy to tackle obesity and promote healthy eating. This blog breaks down the legislation and what it means for you.

The trend for transparency is not a new fad, it’s been growing for a long time. For more than a decade now, legislation has been in force in America. Despite criticism from both eating disorder campaigners and the industry, consumers are driving the trend for transparency. 68% believing the legislation is a good move while 57% said calorie counts would impact their food orders.

What are the key calorie labelling rules you need to know?

Calorie information needs to be displayed at ‘the point of choice’

The government wants consumers to be able to see calorie information at the time of choosing their order.

This means that calories must be clearly labelled on all of your physical menus, menu boards, online menus, third party delivery apps and next to the physical item if ordering from a display stand.  

Calorie information must be displayed in kilocalories (kcal) and must be ‘easily visible, clearly legible, and not in any way hidden or obscured’. The legislation recommends using the same font, colour, size and background of the description or price of the food item

For most products, displaying calorie information on a menu might be straightforward. But in the case of ‘meal deal’ options or ‘build your own’ meals, it’s a more complex challenge. Ensure you’re fully compliant with our calorie labelling features.

Menus must include the statement ‘adults need around 2000 kcal a day’

Along with the calorie information, operators must display this statement ‘prominently at the point where people are choosing what to buy’. That includes web pages or menu screens for digital menus, or on each side of a physical menu. The statement can never be changed.

In some cases menus need to specify the portion size of an item

Operators don’t need to call out that ‘single portions serve one’ as the description of the menu item typically makes it clear. For example, a chicken burger, 550 kcal.

But if an item serves more than one person, the menu needs to specify the number of people it is intended to serve. If an item is intended for multiple people i.e. a sharing platter or a whole cake, calorie information must be provided for the whole item as well as information on how many people it is intended to serve. For example, 15 chicken wings, 1000 kcal, serves four.

Do the regulations apply to every type of food and drink?

The new rules are focused on food and drink that is sold for ‘immediate consumption’. This means any non-prepacked food or soft drink item that is prepared for customers to consume immediately (either on-site or to takeaway).

Food excluded from the Calorie Labelling Regulation

Are there fines if my business doesn’t comply?

Enforcement Officers are set to make inspections where they will check how businesses calculate calorie content and if they are displaying them correctly. Any person who fails to comply with an improvement notice is guilty of an offence and may be fined £2,500 as an alternative to criminal prosecution.

Complying with the regulation

While the Calorie Labelling Regulation brings a fresh challenge, it’s a great opportunity to explore how digital can streamline your operations with easy menu management.

When it comes to displaying nutritional information, not all digital platforms are equal. There are key features that you should consider when looking for the best way to display calorie labels.

Ask yourself:

- Is the information displayed beautifully in a way that doesn't disrupt the overall customer experience?

- What other nutritional information can you display beyond the calorie count?
75% of consumers want to know information like whether items are gluten-free and what the salt content is.
Top tip: Stay ahead of your competitors and future-proof your business by displaying this information now, before it becomes mandatory.

- How easy is it to update nutritional content across all of your digital channels including delivery aggregators?
Top tip: Look for a platform that pushes out updates to all of your digital channels so you only have to update one menu.

Future-proof your business

When we opened our first restaurant back in 2015, transparency around nutrition was becoming increasingly important. We focused on putting nutrition and customisation at the heart of our digital ordering platform. We made it quick and easy for other operators to add and update their nutritional information.

By building the functionality to offer a clear breakdown of calories, dietary tags and allergens for every menu item, we found a way to simplify our operations and empower customers to make the right meal choice for them. Today, this functionality is used by restaurants like YO!, LEON and HOP Vietnamese to take their customer experience to the next level.

Check out our calorie labelling features, or if you’d like more information about the legislation, get in touch to see how we can help you comply.

Calorie Labelling Regulations: your step-by-step guide to compliance

How tech can simplify nutrition transparency