The UK government wants its citizens and the general public to eat healthily. Hence the government has come out with a mandate.
The new regulations state that all restaurants, cafes, and takeaway shops should display the caloric content of each food and drink item on their menu.
Caloric content labels of served foods a must now in the UK
The UK government wants all cafes, restaurants, and takeaway establishments to label the foods they serve with the number of calories it contains.
The low-alcohol drinks that have an alcohol content of less than 1.2% should also have this caloric content next to their name on the menu card.
Normally only foods that are prepacked and sold in the market had this caloric value on its label. Earlier, this was not compulsory for freshly cooked foods that were served in restaurants and cafes.
These places did not provide this vital info to their clients. But now, with this new rule, all shops will have to inform their consumers how many calories each of their food items contains.
Reason for this new regulation
The UK government’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has studied the number of calories in foods that the food outlets serve. They have also surveyed the eating habits of the people.
And they concluded that people on average consume 25% of their foods from outside daily. And they also found that these outside foods have twice the amount of calories as those in similar foods made at home.
Additionally, there is an epidemic of obesity currently in the UK. 63% of the population in the UK is obese. And 40% of primary-school goers have more than the recommended weight for their age.
DHSC also found that in 2019 and 2020 there were 1 million hospital admissions attributed to excess weight. In these, obesity was the primary or secondary cause for the admissions.
Thus, obesity has been linked to hospital stays and an increase in the healthcare costs of the NHS. This trend is rising and can be harmful in the long run.
Dr. Joshua Petimar, researcher at the Department of Population Medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School, USA states:
“This represents a serious problem given the many chronic conditions that are associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and others. This is why adopting healthy behaviors to prevent obesity is so important for a person’s long-term health.”
DHSC wants people to make more informed and healthier decisions about their eating.
Potential implications of this rule
Restaurant owners are worried about this new regulation and its timing. Dining places have already suffered heavy losses due to
the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown over the last two years. Then came the Russia-Ukraine war and food prices are rising. This has led to diminished sales of the food outlets. It is a delicate time for them.
And now this new rule imposition would hamper their sales further. This new rule might help the consumers but it might act as a hindrance for the restaurants. They had no time to recover from the economic damage of the pandemic.
DHSC has said that there would be a fine of £2500 for establishments that violate the new rules.