UK Menu Labeling Required By April 2022 at Eateries with 250+ Employees

It’s official, in just over a month, the United Kingdom will be requiring that all cafes, restaurants and foodservice businesses that have over 250 employees, to place calorie counts on their menus. This new rule, made mandatory by the UK Government will be enforced as of April 2022, but it should come as no surprise. News of the impending UK menu labeling law broke last year through multiple media outlets to inform foodservice businesses and UK citizens that calorie labeling was on the horizon as a response to the obesity epidemic present throughout the United Kingdom. Although restaurants in the UK are running out of time to begin their recipe analysis to place these calorie counts on their menus by April, there are resources that can be utilized to expedite the process. And we’ll get to those shortly.

In April 2022, UK restaurants with 250+ employees must provide nutrition information on their restaurant menus. Are you ready?

UK Menu Labeling Law Overview

In an effort to address the obesity epidemic, the government has responded with the UK menu labeling law which will require all eateries (with over 250 employees collectively across all locations) to provide their dining guests with calorie and nutrition information about the entrees, appetizers, desserts, beverages and all other consumables being served on the restaurant menu.

Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said: Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families, both in restaurants and at home. That is why we want to make sure everyone has access to accurate information about the food and drink we order. These measures form an important building block in our strategy to support and encourage people in achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.

This calorie labeling rule also applies to retail items being sold in the front of house. Many are wondering, “Does this new menu labeling law apply to me and my business?” Well, if you have 250+ employees and your business type is on the follow list, the answer is yes.

Food-Service Businesses that Must Adhere to UK Menu Labeling Law include but are not limited to: 

  1. Quick service (fast-food) restaurants
  2. Pubs
  3. Formal Dining Restaurants
  4. Convenience Stores
  5. Cinemas
  6. Hospitals
  7. Hotels
  8. Cafes
  9. Bakeries
  10. Sweet Shops
  11. Home Delivery & Third Party Apps
  12. Catering Companies
  13. Supermarkets
  14. Takeaways
  15. Domestic Transport within the UK
  16. Specialty Food Stores
  17. Delicatessens
  18. And other large food venues

This abbreviated list just begins to scratch the surface of the food service businesses that are affected by this new menu labeling rule throughout the United Kingdom. (For questions on if this law applies to you, please contact us for further assistance.)

Nutrition Information Required for Display

According to the statement released by the UK government: “Calorie labelling should be implemented according to best practice to ensure compliance and increase efficacy”. If we take a look at the best practices in countries who have been implementing menu labeling for some time now, there’s a foundational standard that one could easily abide by and supply the correct information that will be both useful to the dining guest as well as compliant with government standards.

For example, within the United States, foodservice businesses that display nutrition information tend to offer a few different views for their customers. On menu boards, paper menus and drive thru menus, only the calorie counts are displayed. The dining guest can find the calorie counts on display directly next to the menu item listing.

uk menu labeling

In this example you can see how a simple calorie count is typically displayed on paper menus, drive thru menus, and menu boards. Online menu display has more options.

This simple calorie count display works very well for basic menu displays that a customer reads upon arrival at the restaurant location. In addition to the calorie display, the restaurant must also add a footnote that the calorie counts are based upon an adult’s daily average consumption of 2000kcal per day.

Online Menu Displays

Online menu displays offer the opportunity to provide more information as well as allow the restaurant to be more creative with their online display. In many examples, you’ll find that a restaurant will provide a page dedicated to their menu’s nutrition information. Typically the display is housed on a PDF file that is uploaded to the website. While this has been the typical display in the past, many restaurants are moving from the basic PDF chart display due to it not being very mobile friendly. Also, anytime there is a change made to the menu or a menu item, the nutrition page must be taken down, edited and the new information re-uploaded.

Another option that restaurants have begun to opt for is more of an interactive display. This allows a customer to interact with your menu while viewing the nutrition information simultaneously. Under the MenuCalc umbrella, we refer to our interactive menu display as “Meal Builder”. And example of the interactive display can be viewed here: Willy’s Mexicana Grill . The nutrition display has been branded according to their website’s overall theme and colors and blends very easily into their existing branding.

The interactive display allows a customer to customize their ingredients, view allergen information and have a personalized experience each and every time.

Will This Impact My Customer Traffic? 

If we can take a moment from the structure of an informational article and just speak as one business to another, from our decade of experience, we can confidently tell you that complying to the new UK menu labeling law will actually provide more benefits than anything. At this point in society, consumers are more comfortable to spend money at a place where their experience is personalized and they have as much data as possible to make an educated dining decision, meaning a decent nutrition display.

If you are looking to add nutritional information to your menu or would like to learn more about the UK menu labeling law and how it applies to you, please visit us here and let’s get in touch!

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