F1. Out of Home Calorie Labelling

“We will provide calorie information for food and non alcoholic drink for our customers in out of home settings from 1 September 2011 in accordance with the principles for calorie labelling agreed by the Responsibility Deal.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important.

This pledge asks catering businesses, who sell food in out of home settings, to provide calorie information for customers on menus or menu boards, to help people make healthier choices.

Out of home calorie labelling aims to inform and empower people to make healthier choices more often when eating out, as well as encouraging food businesses to make healthier options more available.

The pledge asks businesses to make a voluntary commitment to display calorie information clearly and prominently at the point of choice i.e. on menus and/or menu boards, for standardised food and non alcoholic drinks.

Out of home settings include restaurants, quick service restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs, sandwich shops & staff restaurants.

One in six meals is now eaten outside of the home – and is estimated to contribute 20 per cent of energy intake for adult women and 25 per cent for men.

The latest Health Survey for England data shows us that over 1 in 4 adults in this country are obese. Nearly a third of children aged 2-15 are overweight or obese. Being obese and overweight increases the risk of a range of diseases that can have a significant health impact eg. heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

In October 2011, the Government published Healthy Lives, healthy people: a call to action on obesity in England outlining how everyone, including business, can play their part in tackling this major public health issue.

The Responsibility Deal sets out to create the right environment to help people make healthier choices and out of home calorie labelling has an important role in helping influence people’s behaviour.

Benefits to public health

Evidence suggests that calorie labelling at point of choice does make customers more aware of energy content. Recent research from New York City published in the British Medical Journal reported that calorie labelling influenced the choices of one in six customers. Some foods and drinks can contain more calories than people think, and providing calorie labelling enables people to make informed choices to reduce their energy intake.

How you can deliver this pledge

Businesses are asked to provide the calorie labelling following these basic principles:

  • information is displayed clearly and prominently at point of choice;
  • information is provided for standardised food and drink items sold;
  • information is provided per portion/item/meal; and for multi portion or sharing items the number of portions will also be provided.
  • Reference information on calorie requirement is displayed clearly, prominently and in a way that is appropriate for the consumer.

By ‘point of choice’ we mean menu boards in quick service restaurants, unless there is robust evidence to show that other points are equally effective, and/or on menus or shelf edging in other types of business; ‘standardised’ is defined as a product that is offered for at least 30 days in a year.

There is some flexibility around ‘reference information’ allowing it to be displayed away from point of choice where space is limited, as long as it is displayed clearly where customers will notice it. Suggested wording would be ‘Women need around 2,000 and men 2,500 kcal a day’.

Since implementation in September 2011, there is now increased visibility of calorie labelling on the high street. Any companies who can make a commitment to provide calorie labelling can sign up to the pledge. Companies will be asked for an indication of the date for commencement.
Technical guidance
and illustrative guidance is available.

For further information on this pledge, please email foodnetwork@dh.gsi.gov.uk or call 020 7972 1372.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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