UKHospitality has said it is keen to work with government to tackle obesity, but claims measures such as calorie labelling could cost businesses up to £40,000 and would “stifle" efforts by restaurants and takeaways to offer healthy meals.
Commenting on the Government’s announcement on the next steps for its obesity strategy, UKHospitality’s CEO, Kate Nicholls said: “We are genuinely keen to work with Government to address obesity but the extra regulatory and cost burdens of measures like menu labelling could not come at a worse time. Hospitality has played its part in lockdown, feeding and accommodating vulnerable people and key workers. Now, as we focus on securing jobs and helping the economy and communities to recover, a raft of costs and regulatory burdens would be a slap in the face.”
She goes on to add: “Menu labelling could cost as much as £40,000 per menu run for some businesses, disincentivising such innovative and sustainable approaches, and stifling the efforts to offer exciting and healthy meals to customers.”
Instead, the organisation believes education is key in reducing obesity in the long term and is calling for initiatives to better communicate the benefits of healthy cooking and eating, especially within schools.
Kate adds: “Millions of Britons have rediscovered the joy of cooking from scratch during lockdown, a trend that has been rightly and roundly applauded. We should embrace this by embedding more nutritional education in schools. Cooking from scratch is what restaurants do every day, and it’s how many of them manage to keep their offers attractive, with changing daily specials and locally-sourced seasonal dishes.”