It’s official. As of April 2022, foodservice businesses with over 250 employees will be required to list caloric content on their menus. Many restaurant owners and entrepreneurs saw this change coming. News of the impending UK menu labeling law broke last year through multiple media outlets. 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.
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?” It applies if you have 250+ employees, and if your type of business appears on the following list.
Food-Service Businesses that Must Adhere to UK Menu Labeling Law include but are not limited to:
- Quick service (fast-food) restaurants
- Formal Dining Restaurants
- Convenience Stores
- Sweet Shops
- Home Delivery & Third Party Apps
- Catering Companies
- Domestic Transport within the UK
- Specialty Food Stores
- 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”. Many restaurants have been following these guidelines for some time now. These businesses comply by the government standards to supply accurate information for their guests.
For example, within the United States, many menu boards, paper menus, and drive thru menus only display calorie counts. Oftentimes, the menu lists that calorie count right next to the corresponding menu item.
This simple calorie count display works very well for basic menu displays that a customer reads upon arrival at the restaurant location. Additionally, the restaurant must also add a footnote that states that the restaurants bases the calorie counts 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 give the restaurant more freedom 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 restaurant website’s use a PDF file to post their menu. Nowadays, however, many restaurants are moving from the basic PDF chart. Newer displays have evolved to be more mobile-friendly and easier to edit.
Many restaurants have also begun to opt for more interactive displays. These displays 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”. Take a look at an example of one of these menus here: Willy’s Mexicana Grill . The nutrition display has been branded according to their website’s overall theme and colors. They are designed to blend 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, the benefits of new UK menu labeling law far outweigh the demerits. At this point in society, consumers want personalized experiences and the tools to make informed decisions.