There’s been a lot of discussion in the trade press this week about caterers being “forced” to show calorie information on menus. Headlines like Pubs urged to display calories on menus by council leaders and Licensees claim displaying calories on menus ‘impossible’ have given the impression that pubs, cafes and restaurants will have to do this.
That’s simply not true.
The next set of food labelling regulations applying to nutritional content will apply to manufacturers of pre-packed foods from December 2016, and UK caterers WILL NOT have to supply nutritional content information in the same way as we now provide allergen information. Member states can adopt "national measures" to extend the rules to caterers, but politically that's EXTREMELY unlikely to happen here.
Small caterers are quite right in saying that this would be very difficult to manage. Which is precisely why they won’t have to (although large chains with the resources to put nutritional information on their menus are in many cases already doing it).
However... caterers can choose to give the information voluntarily, in which case there is guidance on how to present it. For the vast majority of caterers this will be an unattractive prospect, but for those who have moved into more specialised markets, including free-from, this might be another niche to explore. It's worth remembering that various surveys have shown that 1 in 4 of the adult population is on some kind of "diet" at any given time, either for weight loss or health reasons, and as the anti-obesity campaigns continue this information could be a selling point for some outlets.
The government guidance, with hyperlinks to further info, is here:
I've been working in hospitality and training one way or another for over 25 years. I love helping small hospitality businesses to develop. Follow me and my continuing training adventures here...