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Thursday 27th October 2016

Calorie counts to go on menus

19th January 2009

Times Consumer Editor Valerie Elliott discuss moves to put calorie counts on restaurant menus.


With one meal out of six now taken outside the home, American-style calorie listings are set to appear on menus and display boards in UK fast food outlets and restaurants.

The Food Standard Agency (FSA) has gone on the offensive with the move to tackle obesity after research showed men gain a quarter of their calories, and women a fifth, from eating out, having sandwiches at lunchtime or picking up a takeaway.

The scheme was introduced in New York last year and has shown early success after outlets displayed calories on their menus. Indications are that diners are cutting calorie intake by between 50 and 100 calories.

The scheme is set to begin in the UK in the summer with Pizza Hut and its 400 restaurants and 300 takeaways the first to sign up. McDonald’s and Starbucks are likely to follow suit.

The FSA hopes celebrity chefs will join in and give out more information about calories and nutritional content of recipes.

Two thirds of adults and a third of children in the UK have weight problems or are obese with that set to rise alarmingly by 2050 unless initiatives are introduced to reverse this trend.

However, not everybody is happy with the move to display calories on menus.

Fearful of increased overheads for food establishments the British Hospitality Association, which represents 44,000 catering outlets in Britain, believes the timing is wrong with many establishments struggling under the current economic climate.


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