‘Vital’ businesses take part in calorie consultation

New consultation asks whether calorie information should be included on menus


IT is “vital” that Scottish business owners participate in a new Scottish Government consultation on mandatory calorie labelling, says trade group UK Hospitality.

The Scottish Government launched the consultation late last week as it mulls the introduction of legislation that would require businesses including bars, pubs and restaurants to include calorie information on their menus.

The 12-week consultation, which comes after similar rules came into force in England, asks respondents a range of questions about calorie labelling, including whether or not mandatory labelling should be introduced, whether the requirements should only cover businesses over a certain size (as is the case in England), and whether certain types of businesses or foods should be exempt.

UK Hospitality Scotland executive director, Leon Thompson, has urged the Scottish Government not to introduce “further regulatory burdens” as businesses attempt to recover from the pandemic.

And he said it is “vital” that hospitality businesses in Scotland get involved in the consultation process.

“Following [the] introduction of calorie labelling in England, it is important that the Scottish Government hears views from businesses on the impact such a scheme will have on them and their customers,” said Thompson.

“There is already anecdotal feedback from businesses in England of the effects calorie labelling is having in terms of cost and resources, as well as customer relations. It is essential that that we avoid such pitfalls.

“Our businesses are still very fragile as they strive to rebuild after the pandemic – they need time to recover, free from further regulatory burdens.”

Public health minister Maree Todd said calorie labelling is “a key factor” in the Scottish Government’s plans to tackle obesity.

“We know that giving people more information, such as the number of calories in meals will enable people to make healthier choices when eating out, or ordering in,” said Todd.

“This is not novel practice – calories are already required on retail food purchases and calorie labelling for out of home sites is mandated in many other countries.

“Many food companies in Scotland have already taken this significant step voluntarily. We want to learn from those experiences and I would urge everyone to share their thoughts in this consultation.”

The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/consultation-mandatory-calorie-labelling-out-home-sector-scotland/