Latest regulatory updates

Last updated 31 March

Kurt Janson

Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, gives a regular update on the latest regulatory changes affecting the hospitality industry. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. Read our full disclaimer

Calorie labelling

As part of the Government’s efforts to reduce obesity, new regulations (The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021) came into effect on 1 April 2022.

The regulations require large businesses (i.e. those with over 250 employees) that sell non pre-packaged food for direct consumption, either on or off the premises, to display the calorie content of the food and drink items that they prepare for customers. The idea behind this is to help customers make more informed, healthier choices when it comes to eating out or ordering takeaways.

Selling food for direct consumption generally means restaurants, cafés and takeaways, but it can include catering services and supermarkets where they have food-to-go services such as a sushi or noodle bar.

Under the regulations, a business needs to comply if the collective number of staff in all branches and businesses under a particular brand franchise exceeds 250. So, even if you just operate a single branch of franchise, you are required to comply with the regulations if the total number of people employed under the franchised brand is more than 250.

The information must be displayed at the point of choice for the customer which can include blackboards, printed menus or on websites for businesses where food can be ordered online -including through intermediary delivery firms such as Deliveroo and Just Eat.

There are a number of exemptions to the regulations, including:

  • The sale of items such as fruit and vegetables, cheese and sliced cooked meats, rotisserie chicken and bread, which are deemed to be ingredients rather than a meal. However, it should be noted that the sale of items like buns and pastries is covered by the regulations.
  • Meals that are on the menu for less than 30 consecutive days and a total of 30 days in any year such as “Special of the Day”, a “Valentine’s Day Menu” or dishes to celebrate “Asparagus Festival Week”
  • Situations where the customer has asked for a special meal because of dietary or religious requirements
  • Meals where the customer has asked to change certain elements of the meal from those listed on the menu
  • Drinks with more than 1.2% alcohol, including cocktails.

Businesses are also allowed to provide a menu without calorie information if customers specifically ask to have one without that information.

While these regulations do not apply to the majority of small businesses, the Government is encouraging all businesses to provide calorie labelling voluntarily. It is also important to note that they have not ruled out the possibility of extending the legislation to cover all food business at some stage in the future.

More information and guidance on the new regulations is available on the Gov.uk website.