Calories on menus 'will cost thousands of pounds'

Restaurants say plans to display the calorie content of food on menus in England should be delayed while the sector recovers from the pandemic.

There are fears that the move will add extra costs to businesses at a time when they are least able to afford it.

The new rules will affect restaurants, cafes and takeaways employing more than 250 people and are due to come in from April 2022.

The change is part of a drive by the UK government to tackle obesity.

With 11 restaurants, Mowgli Street Food's founder Nisha Katona says making the changes by next spring will mean a significant investment.

"It's thousands of pounds and weeks of work," she says. "It's a shame for anyone to have to take on another cost right now."

However, she supports the idea that people should take a greater interest in how many calories they consume when they eat out, and says her restaurant has already looked into displaying calories on its menus.

Despite this, she believes it's crucial that ministers stick to the idea of only applying the new rules to larger businesses such as hers.

"Personally, I can see the value in it, and it's something my business will manage to do - but it'll see the end of small restaurants if they're ever compelled to do it," she says.

Announcing the plans, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said they were intended "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".

The government said that it would not affect small, independent businesses, which may find it harder to implement the changes.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality, says that while the industry shares the government's objectives in improving public health, the timing could prove difficult.

"The majority of operators are in survival mode," she says.

"We urge the government to consider delaying the implementation of any legislation rather than layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic and risks prolonging their recovery and business' ability to invest and create jobs."

Source: BBC News