The government has opened a public consultation on how to introduce calorie labelling for food and drink consumed outside of the home.
The consultation will also seek views on how this could apply to:
- small businesses
- street vendors
- restaurants with fast-changing menus
- online takeaway businesses
Calorie labels are already widely displayed on packaged foods in supermarkets and in some big chains including Wetherspoons and Subway. The new plans are intended to make sure that labelling is applied consistently so that families know how much they and their children are eating when out.
The plans form part of the government’s wider strategy to halve childhood obesity by 2030.
Evidence shows that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, who have a high risk of developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, strokes and heart disease.
The proposals have been welcomed by diabetes experts, who said that three-quarters of the British public have told them that they want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy.
Public Health Minister Steve Brine said:
Families want to know what they are eating when on the go, but in many cafés, restaurants and takeaways this information is not available.
This is not about forcing anyone to eat certain things, or companies to behave in a certain way, but I firmly believe we have a right to know the nutritional content of the food we give to our children.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and is often both preventable and reversible. That’s why we are taking action through this consultation, and I would ask everyone to respond with their ideas on how we can make this work.
Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Campaigns and Mobilisation at Diabetes UK, said:
People living with diabetes and more than three-quarters of the British public have told us that they want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy, to help make healthier choices – especially when they’re out and about. These bold, ambitious proposals from government are – if put into legislation – essential to making the healthy choice the easy choice for British consumers.
The UK is facing a type 2 diabetes crisis. With around two-thirds of adults in the UK classed as overweight or obese, and therefore at increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic health conditions, it’s really important that we have measures in place that make it easier for all of us to lead healthier lives. These measures are the next vital step in making this a reality and – potentially – beginning to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes.
We look forward to the conclusions of this important consultation, and to seeing how these measures can practically be implemented in the future.