Restaurants in the UK set to introduce calorie information for their customers

As part of the government’s ‘responsibility deal’, 32 firms have agreed to display calorie information at its outlets, meaning that customers at some of the best known eating establishments in the UK might start to see just how many calories each dish contains on the menu.

The government’s initiative has already seen a number of voluntary agreements set up in the areas of alcohol, health at work and physical activity. Now the food industry is joining in, with fast food chains McDonald’s and KFC amongst the companies and businesses willing to be a part of it.

In 2008, a law in the US was introduced forcing restaurants in New York to display the nutritional information about the dishes they were serving. However, a study by the New York Health Department which quizzed 7,000 people in 2007 before the law was introduced, and another 8,500 people in 2009 after the law had been established revealed that only one in six customers used the information, but most of these did reduce their intake of food.

Of those surveyed across 168 locations covering 11 of the biggest food chains in the US, people who did use the nutritional information purchased 106 fewer calories than those who did not use or see the figures. Overall, there was not a significant change in calorie consumption before and after the law was brought in.

Nutrition experts in the UK believe that having calorie information would have much more of an impact in this country though, as we are more used to checking labelling in supermarkets. One in six meals in the UK are eaten away from the home, so it does seem important that people know what is in the food being bought at restaurants and cafes.

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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