Food For Thought As UK Government Legislates Calories

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Food For Thought As UK Government Legislates Calories

The new tax year commenced on 6th April 2022 and on the same day the UK Government enacted new legislation by way of The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021.

I Won’t See Any Difference, Will I?

Many mistakenly think that law changes will not affect them, be unnoticeable, or not make any difference to their lives. However, these changes will affect anybody running, working in, or using Hospitality and Leisure businesses. The new legal requirements mandate affected businesses to prominently display the numbers of calories contained in the food served. The new Regulations apply to England-based ‘qualifying businesses’.

Who Is Affected By The New Regulations?

Under the legislation businesses employing 250 or more people from 6th April of each year will qualify need to meet the new requirements. The new Regulations apply to food outlets including but not limited to:

  • restaurants and fast-food establishments
  • supermarkets
  • public houses, cafes
  • food and beverage home delivery services
  • Takeaways and cafes in larger premises such as cinemas, department stores, and entertainment establishments
  • sweet shops, delicatessen, and bakeries
  • specialized food premises
  • companies providing catering services to a wide range of events; and
  • businesses providing domestic transport services.

What Foods Do The Regulations Apply To?

The new rules affect two main food categories, firstly food that is not pre-packaged or which is pre-packed for sale directly to the public. The second category of food falling under the new legal requirements is food marketed for consumption shortly after purchase.

What Information Must Affected Parties Display?

If a business finds itself falling within the remit of the new regulations it is now legally obliged to show information about the food it offers for sale in a prominent position on the premises, where the customer deciding about what food to purchase can see it. Affected businesses must clearly show:

  • the number of calories contained in the food
  • a statement to the effect that adult persons require around 2000 daily calories. (However, the regulations insert a small caveat in terms of children’s menus where smaller portions apply)
  • the number of persons the food has been designed to cater for.

Food Purchased Online Or Via Mobile Is Exempt, Right?

Those thinking the mobile and online food market have escaped the attention of the new Regulations will be disappointed as the law also affects these businesses too. Food that is purchased on a mobile app or via an internet website is captured by the new legal requirements. If affected the business is under a new legal duty to clearly show the information prominently on the menu showing the food options available for purchase and not hide it from the sight of the customer in any way.

How Will The New Rules Be Enforced?

The new rules will be enforced by Local Authorities and if they have a reasonable belief that a qualifying business is falling short of the standards, they will have the power to issue an improvement notice. The business will have around 14 days to make the changes. If the conditions of the notice are not satisfied, the local authority will take more serious enforcement action via a fixed penalty notice for £2,500 or further criminal sanctions.

Currently, only qualifying businesses are affected. However, the new rules will be reviewed in five-year cycles and the UK Government is encouraging all businesses to voluntarily comply. It may become mandatory for every business to comply. Ally Tow, from Boyes Turner commenting on the new requirements, advised all affected businesses to put in place compliance measures as soon as possible to ensure they are not exposed.

The Legists Content Team


#AddleshawGoddard #CMS #Dentons #DLAPiper #EvershedsSutherland #OsborneClarkeLLP #RPC #BakerMcKenzie #Bird&BirdLLP #LinklatersLLP


[1] The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector)(England) Regulations 2021

[2] Tow, Ally – The calorie labelling (out of home sector) (England) Regulations 2021 – Boyes Turner – 31 March 2022 - The calorie labelling (out of home sector) (England) regulations 2021: Boyes Turner

[3] UK Government – Mandating calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector: consultation response on policy enforcement – 10 June 2021

[4] Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (RESA)

[5] Action on Sugar – Government launches consultation on calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector – 14 September 2018 - 2018 Stories - Government launches consultation on calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector - Action on Sugar



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