Will small firms be exempt from calorie labelling rules?

Businesses with fewer than 250 staff will be exempt from new rules to list calories on menus.

“It isn’t about telling people what to eat, it’s about helping them make their own choices,” a government source told The Sun. “There’s a sensible balance to be struck. We can achieve it without unnecessarily impacting small business.”

The introduction of calorie labelling on out-of-home menus was one of the headline new policies set out in the government’s updated childhood obesity strategy, published in June 2018. A consultation on the plans closed in December 2018; the government is still assessing the feedback.

Though the Department of Health appears broadly receptive to the idea, that isn’t the case elsewhere in Whitehall. Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, has estimated the new rules could cost up to £13m – though the source for that figure remains unknown.

As Footprint reported last year, evidence to show that calorie labelling can change consumption patterns is thin on the ground. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t work – provided it is “consistent, ubiquitous, well-policed and, critically, part of a number of other interventions”.

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