Industry reacts to calorie labelling consultation launch

18/09/2018 - 07:00
UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has responded to the government’s consultation on calorie labelling for out-of-home food and drink.

The consultation asks if places, such as pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, should show calorie information, what other information should be displayed and where the information should be displayed.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The consultation does seem to acknowledge that there will be difficulties for some businesses, particularly smaller ones, to implement calorie labelling. UKHospitality has been very clear that any inflexible mandatory requirements will place considerable burdens on smaller businesses and those venues that change their menus regularly.

“UKHospitality will be using the consultation as an opportunity to reiterate that point and highlight the efforts already being undertaken by the sector to provide transparency and choice.

“At a time of economic and political uncertainty, and with costs continuing to rise for employers, the last thing businesses need is additional, unwieldy legislation. We will be making this point forcefully to the Government to ensure that any new rules are proportionate and take into account the challenges faced by SMEs.”

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: "The BBPA understands the Government's agenda on obesity, but the majority of Britain's 50,000 pubs are run as small businesses. The burden and cost of the proposed calorie labelling will be considerable. Seasonal menus and locally sourced meals which change frequently and depend on the availability of key ingredients make calorie labelling challenging. This could also mean that calorie labelling will result in significantly reduced choice for the consumer.

"Consumers are capable of making informed choices for themselves and their families. Often a meal out in a pub in an affordable treat and the choices now available to customers are greater than ever.

"The BBPA is concerned about the increasing and incremental cost of running pubs from beer duty the impact of business rates, sugar tax and auto-enrolment of pensions, among others. The costs are huge which is why we are supporting Long Live the Local this autumn in the run-up to the Budget. We need Government to understand these burdens on a much-loved and essential pillar of our community and reduce beer duty and business rates to help them."

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