Public consultation on the introduction of calorie labelling for food and drink eaten out of home – including in pubs – has begun.
The consultation will seek the views of pubs and other food businesses on labelling, which is already widely displayed on packaged foods in supermarkets and in some big chains, including Wetherspoons.
The plans are specifically aimed at families, so they 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.
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.”
The burden and cost of the proposed calorie labelling will be considerable.
Responding to the consultation, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds, said: “The burden and cost of the proposed calorie labelling will be considerable. Seasonal menus and locally sourced meals, which change frequently and depend on the availability of key ingredients, make calorie labelling challenging.
“This could also mean that calorie labelling will result in significantly reduced choice for the consumer.
“Consumers are capable of making informed choices for themselves and their families. Often a meal out in a pub is an affordable treat and the choices now available to customers are greater than ever.
“The BBPA is concerned about the increasing and incremental cost of running pubs from beer duty to the impact of business rates, sugar tax and auto-enrolment of pensions, among others.”